ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - CORRECTION: The video linked to this story says a 36 percent decrease in crime. The real number is 38 percent.
Ardmore police said they saw the crime rate decrease last year, continuing a trend seen over the last few years.
Larry Wilkes has lived in Ardmore 73 years and said the decrease in violent crime is good news.
"I'm tickled that it's decreased," Wilkes said. "I think we had some real problems five or six years ago. We had several murders. It made the town look bad."
In 2014, the City of Ardmore was considered one of the most unsafe cities per capita.
Part 1 type crimes include murder, rape, assault and theft.
Ardmore's part 1 Crimes for 2013 were 2,543.
Statistics from the uniform crime report show Ardmore police had 1,574 part 1 crimes in 2019 compared to 1,627 in 2018, a decrease of about three percent.
Deputy Police Chief Kevin Norris said this is part of about 38 percent decrease in violent crimes over the last six years.
Norris attributes this trend to an operation cracking down on drive by shootings a few years ago and having more officers patrolling.
"Up until this point, we had full staff and we had more officers on the street," Norris said. "More officers on the street with less calls, the officers are being proactive and taking care of the community."
However, robbery and non-residential burglary have gone up since 2018.
Officers saw 25 robberies in 2019 versus 17 the year before, an increase of 47 percent.
They also say 47 non-residential burglaries in 2019 versus 36 the year before, an increase of 31 percent.
In most of the situations, the victim did not know the suspect.
"I believe a lot of this is crime of opportunity," Norris said. "You know, if you have a lot of money, if you've cashed a check, if you've gotten you income tax money, don't flaunt it. Don't put it on Facebook. Don't walk around showing people you have a lot of money."
Ardmore police are currently working to fill positions after a series of retirements.
Norris said the department has had six retirements in the last 12 months.
“Which is good for them but bad for us because we lost a lot of experience and we lost a lot of personnel," Norris said.
One of the department's goals is to increase the manpower in 2020 and be selective with who it chooses.
“That way have they have a good foundation in the community," Norris said. "They believe in the community. They trust in the community. They want to do what’s right for the community.”
Norris said the department also needs help from the public to report crime.
"We appreciate the people in the community and the neighbors who are keeping their eyes open and letting us know what's going on."