A slew of initiatives to reduce crime in the 61st and Peoria area is paying off, according to City of Tulsa officials.
The efforts focused on the Kwick Stop convenience store and Savanna Landing — formerly Fairmont Terrace — apartment complex in the neighborhood now known as Hope Valley.
The city received a $503,000 grant from the Department of Justice in 2016 to put a full-time community resource officer, Ofc. Donnie Johnson, there and pay for overtime to boost police presence in the area.
James Stark with Local Initiatives Support Corporation said there was an uptick in police calls at Kwick Stop, which residents identified as a crime hotspot, after the first year.
"That has, interestingly, been common because folks now are, like, 'Oh, this is an issue that folks are paying attention to.' And then, the second year, it dropped down dramatically," Stark said.
The Kwick Stop convenience store now has 24-hour security, fencing and better lighting to deter illegal activity. The city also enacted nuisance ordinances to deal with ongoing problems like graffiti and loitering that store management could help stop.
A new management company spent $14 million on exterior and interior renovations at Savanna Landing, with all 336 units getting new flooring, kitchen cabinets and appliances, and paint.
Three-year resident Tracy Burris said the new management also evicted residents engaged in illegal activity and helped arrange more social and recreational events for residents.
"They’re real picky about who they put in here now, and there’s people out here that are wanting it better. You have to have that. I think that’s the big deal," Burris said.
Research consultant Nicholas Corsaro said it will all continue to work after the two-year grant expires.
"The apartment management’s going to continue what they do. Tulsa PD is committed to maintianing Ofc. Johnson’s position. The nuisance abatement law was passed. Citizens are still doing positive youth groups," Corsaro said. "So, you take the grant away, and all the pieces don’t go away."