Police Chief: McAlester crime rate comparable to similar sized cities

May 17—McAlester City Councilors received a presentation during their regular meeting Tuesday showing the crime rates in the city are in the range of similar sized cities in the state.

"Since I've been the chief, I've been trying to do this almost every year," McAlester Police Chief Kevin Hearod told city councilors during his presentation.

Hearod said his department switched from using the Uniform Crime Reporting system to the Oklahoma Statewide Incident Based Reporting system in 2018 with the new system allowing Hearod to view reported crimes in other cities.

A federal law that went into effect in 2021 required all cities to switch to SIBR and mandated cities to report their crime numbers. The numbers are then sent to the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation who then sends the numbers to the FBI's National Incident-Based Reporting System.

"What I did, I took six cities in Oklahoma, mostly in our area, but I limited it to above 15,000 in population and below 20,000," Hearod said. "So that got a majority of the cities."

The six cities in the presentation included McAlester, Durant, Bethany, Ada, Chickasha, and Claremore.

Reported crimes are then broken down into three categories — crimes against person, crimes against property, and crimes against society.

Crimes against person include assaults, murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, kidnapping, human trafficking, and other similar crimes. Drug and narcotic violations, weapon law violations, and animal cruelty make up crimes against society. Property crimes include robbery, motor vehicle theft, credit card fraud, shoplifting, and other similar crimes.

McAlester's overall average crime rate per 1,000 residents was 62.89, making the city fourth among the six cities. Ada had the lowest with 51.37 per 1,000 residents, followed by Chickasha with 58.5, Bethany with 58.87, McAlester, Claremore at 74.54, and Durant with 75.

"The crime rate is not that bad around here, Hearod said. "I mean, it's easy to get down. You see stuff on Facebook start chiming in and whatever, but over the last few years, our crime rate is really going in the right direction."

Ward 2 Councilman Justin Few asked about human trafficking since the crime has gotten a lot of attention in the news lately.

Hearod said back when the department would heavily run drug interdiction on the highways back when the possession of all narcotics were illegal, the only human trafficking seen was the movement of illegal immigrants.

"But that was a hit and miss. But it's been at least 10-12 years that I've seen anything like that," Hearod said "Now, if we get anything coming through town, it's rare that we see that, and the other cities don't see it either."

McAlester Mayor John Browne told Hearod to pass on to his officers that they were doing a great job protecting the city.

"Please pass it on to all of your officers that we very much appreciate the job they do, and they do a very good job with the city of McAlester," Browne said.