Fentanyl-Related Deaths Included in Declining Homicide Numbers for 2023 in Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Homicides in Oklahoma City have seen a minor decline in 2023, dropping from 74 in 2022 to 72 in the most recent statistics. However, this year’s numbers include fentanyl-related deaths, a new factor that previously wasn’t accounted for in the homicide count.

Gary Knight of the OKC Police department noted that seven of the 72 homicides were related to fentanyl, a concerning trend that has significantly contributed to drug-related deaths statewide. According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, there were 326 fentanyl deaths in the state in 2022, making it the fastest-growing killer in terms of drug-related deaths.

Despite the concerning rise in fentanyl-related deaths, overall homicides have continued to decrease slowly. According to FBI reports, the homicide rate in Oklahoma City was at 6.7 per 100,000 people in 2022, slightly higher than the national average of 6.3 per 100,000 people.

The introduction of better technology and the implementation of improved medical care has helped bring the homicide numbers down within the metro area. Oklahoma City Police Department credits the use of mobile surgical units and better policing for the lower homicide rates within the city.

While overall violent crime rates have decreased according to the FBI report, some challenges remain. Nine of the 72 homicides in the metro area from the previous year remain unsolved as the city heads into 2024. Knight emphasized the difficulty in preventing such crimes but assured that the authorities are taking every measure to mitigate and prevent further occurrences.

In conclusion, homicides in Oklahoma City have dropped slightly in 2023, although fentanyl-related deaths are a new concern. The use of better technology and improved medical care has contributed to the decline in homicides, but challenges still remain, particularly with regard to unsolved cases.