Homicides Decline in OKC as Fentanyl-Related Deaths Included in 2023 Numbers

Oklahoma City, OK – Homicides in Oklahoma City have seen a slight decline in 2023, dropping from 74 in 2022 to 72 in 2023. However, the 2023 numbers include seven fentanyl-related deaths, a significant change from previous years when such deaths were not included in the homicide count, according to the Oklahoma City Police.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics reports 326 fentanyl-related deaths in the state in 2022, signifying a concerning trend in drug-related fatalities. Mark Woodward, from the OK Bureau of Narcotics, emphasized that fentanyl is becoming the fastest-growing cause of drug-related deaths in Oklahoma as well as nationwide.

Despite the alarming number of fentanyl-related deaths, the overall homicide rates in Oklahoma City are gradually decreasing. In 2022, the FBI reported 6.7 homicide deaths per 100,000 people in Oklahoma, compared to 6.3 per 100,000 nationwide.

The Oklahoma City Police Department credits advancements in technology and medical care for the lower homicide numbers within the metro area. Gary Knight from the Oklahoma City Police Department highlighted that new medical technologies, such as mobile surgical units and med flight services, as well as improved policing methods, have contributed to the overall decrease in homicide rates.

While the city has seen progress in reducing homicides, Knight mentioned that there are still nine unsolved cases from the previous year. Despite law enforcement’s efforts to prevent such crimes, some homicides remain difficult to prevent.

Overall, the FBI’s report indicates a drop in overall violent crime rates in Oklahoma, with the rate going from 458.6 per 100,000 people in 2020 to approximately 419.7 per 100,000 in 2022. This suggests that the overall crime situation in Oklahoma is showing signs of improvement.

In conclusion, while the inclusion of fentanyl-related deaths has had an impact on homicide statistics, the efforts of law enforcement and advancements in technology and medical care have contributed to a decrease in overall violence within the Oklahoma City metro area.