View Full Version : Classen-10-Penn neighborhood

08-14-2004, 09:53 AM
Where is this neighborhood? I know it is near downtown but not sure of the exact location. I read something on today about how that area is infested with crime and is probably one of the worst parts of the city. Is this true, and what can be done to better this area?

08-14-2004, 11:36 AM
It is in the area nw 10 and Classen.

08-14-2004, 05:45 PM
I work real close to this area(within 1 mile), and I can tell you that I would not want to walk by myself in that area during the day or the night. As a hobby, I listen to a police/fire scanner, and I hear numerous calls in that area. Most of them are beatings, shootings, suicides, and rapes.

Most of the houses are kept up well, however, you do have the few that are real dumps. Of course, this is also a high gang area, and many of these gang members retaliate against other gangs. Unfortunately, as many of you know, a 9 year old boy was shot and killed during a drive-by shooting last week. The boy was asleep on his couch, not bothering anyone, and he happen to be in the line of fire. He probably never knew what hit him :( .

08-14-2004, 07:20 PM
Wow so this area is pretty bad then? Is this near the beautiful homes in Heritage Hill? It sounds similar to Tulsa's neighborhoods north of downtown. They used to be nice but have really gone downhill and that's one of the most dangerous parts of the city. What can be done to make these areas better? Is there anything? It hurts downtown having such an unsafe area so close.

08-14-2004, 09:25 PM
Yeah, it concerns me being on the western edge of the arts district. But there's been this co-existence between workers/visitors and the less fortunate/crime. You can see it with the drug activity right on Main close to where the Montgomery will be (near the old Holiday Inn) and with the Civic Center next to the OCPD and jail.

Well, there's a buffer right now between the AD and Penn/Classen. But if further redevelopment continues west of the AD, the police department will have to crack down on the gang activity.

08-15-2004, 03:01 AM
Personally, I think the PD needs to start working on this gang problem might very well impact development west of the arts district. Afterall, who wants to put a nice new development in such a crime-filled area?

Anyways, it's a shame this area has turned into this. It used to be a nice area back in the day. Anyone remember good ole AMC store? It was like the Wal-Mart Supercenter of that time. AMC sold everything, and it was an enormous store.
Is anything in there anymore? I had heard that the AMC flea market that filled the space after AMC closed moved out.

And BG, Heritage Hills is much further east, so that's not too big of a problem there. Mesta Park is probably more concerned about the crime.....they're the wealthy housing addition that's just on the other side of Classen!

08-15-2004, 07:58 PM
Patrick, this made be hard to believe, but many years ago I actually worked for AMC before it became a flea market. I worked for about 6 months in the sporting goods department, handling fishing equipment, guns, etc.......

I can tell you that the people that owned the AMC flea market sold out to somebody else. It is still a flea market though. I have been in there twice to look around, and I can tell you that I wasted my time. The place reaked of smoke, their air conditioning didn't work(it was hot the day I went), and the people that were in there were real scary looking. If they had any type of security, I didn't see it. Plus, they had very few booths.

The bad thing is that I work just south of the flea market, by the treatment plant. The neighborhood is definitely a high crime area with a lot of gang members and transients.

By the way, if you want to go to a flea market that has just about everything, go to the Old Paris Flea Market on S. Eastern. The place is nice inside and there is no smoking allowed. The atmosphere is really nice and there are many, many vendors that sell their items at a good price. They also have good security. Of course, the security guard I have seen weighs about 300 pounds and is about 5'4". I can't see him chasing anybody down. The only negative about Old Paris is their parking lot. It is horrendous. Pot holes and craters everywhere.

Old Paris is not in the best area either, but it is in a much better area than the old AMC flea market.

08-16-2004, 12:08 AM
Hey Keith, yeah that's right...I think I remember you telling me that you used to work at ole AMC.

Thanks for the info on the flea market. I definitely had no plans on going in there. That part of town is scary.

Yeah, I realized the building you worked was located right there by AMC. So I know you're definitely familiar with the area.

Boy that area has sure changed over the years. The main headline in the Sunday Oklahoman actually covered the gang problem in this area today. I was amazed to hear just how bad our gang problem really is. When you're living in a nice neighborhood in the PC area out Northwest like I am, you tend to forget about those problems at times.

Here's the link to the main article which includes links to other related articles in case any of you missed it:

The article mainly talks about the 9 year old that was shot in a drive by by a gang last week, and discusses the growing gand problem in the area.
I can see gang violence growing in the area. I'm surprised more drive bys aren't occurring in this area already.

One of the articles talks about drive by shootings. It says one house has been shot up seven consecutive nights. I just couldn't beleive that!

There's obviously a serious problem going on. Unfortunately, our police officers are too chicken to do anything about it. We need to really step up police patrolsin these areas and try to work harder on curbing the problem. The PD is going to have to take the intiative to do something about it.

And by all means, our city needs to give these kids an alternative. For the kids, it's kind of like.....what else is there to do in this city during the summer....join a gang!!! One of the articles states that the gangs are offering kids something that they aren't getting at home: acceptance, rules, and the appearance of unconditional love.

It all goes back to the parents!

08-26-2004, 03:08 PM
I grew up in this neighborhood and yes it is very crazy. Its sad to hear about the lil boy dying. he was killed a block away from where I was in my 1st drive bye when i was a little kid. Ive seen so many things go on here from people dying to prostitutes hanging out on the streets. I remember i was barely alowed to go out as a child because my mom was scared i would step on needles left bye crackheads that leave them there. Shootings are a constant thing and gangs are not only the main source of them either. The Neighborhood is largely hispanic (as i am to) with one of the largest gangs in the city residing there. Juaritos. My brother and many friends of mine are in this gang and ive seen the affects of the violence 1st hand. Not many people around OKC understand that these things actually happen here. Its very disturbing to feel like no one cares about how your living. That everyone thinks everything is Okay but just as the sad Story of the young boy killed shows We have a problem. There arent many ways to fix it because people have to understand with a big city such as Oklahoma City of course you are gonna have the ghettos. Theres no way of getting rid of them. You can move a highway straight threw but the people will just move on into and take over another neighborhood ive seen it done. And as god says you shouldnt mess with the poors belongings and homes to better yourself which i truly believe The city is doing with Riverside. I remember reading an Article where a City Council Member said i hope this takes out all the violence and druggies from the area by putting the new crosstown in. Thats sad And Classen 10 Penn And Riverside arent the only neighborhoods in the city that are like this there are so many. All over. From The Northeast Side to The SouthwestSide . To The Southeast and of course The Northwest. From Hispanic ghettos to Black Ghettos to Asian Ghettos to White ghettos. It all exists In our city. We are a very diverse city and growing even more. I hope this comming from a person who grew up in our (undersighted) neighborhoods will shine a light into peoples minds that this does exist and it is a problem.

Joe Schmoe
08-26-2004, 03:55 PM
Hey okcstylez, welcome.

Good to hear a perspective from inside the neighborhood. I live in Gatewood just north of that area & it makes me sad. There are some once beautiful houses that made up an impressive neighborhood. When I walk through the area, (in the daytime) I see lots of homes owned by hard working, decent people. They are brought down by the idle youth who decide that theft & violence are reasonable activities.

I see the Juaritos tags everywhere & it makes me angry. Kids need an identity, but this gang cr@p is not the way to go.

Can you tell me what is the attraction to gangs & what you think needs to be done to make gang life less attractive?

I have my eye on a building around 10th & Western, but the neighborhood makes it hard to imagine a succesful business there. There are no jobs, but the gangs make it so that no new jobs will come into the area.


08-26-2004, 04:43 PM
Thnx Joe,

Yes most of the neighborhood is full of hard working decent people. Ive seen many of my friends in the neighborhood whos parents would come out after a drive bye and wave to the police that everything is fine. Shows that they are jus used to it very sad. My friends parents cant even sleep in there own bedroom because its in the front of the house where they just start shooting away. Im glad as a youth myself being 18 that I am not involved in the gangs. My brother who is in the gang never let me.He always made sure that i wouldnt grow up the way he did even tho we lived in the same house. I also got great parents who taught me better than that. Altho as a younger person i went threw my rebel days and i was involved with the dumb illegal things but have learned from my expierences. being in the Oklahoma County Juvenile Facility (a.k.a Berry House) is not fun. But growing up in this type of neighborhood has shown me alot of pride for where im from. Thats why i am so interested in things like this to help my city progress. On another note ive heard many things that people believe youth join gangs because of family life and the need of feeling loved. but As i said before i had wonderful parents and yet my brother is in a gang. Its all about the way the person is. Some people get a kick out of shooting a gun and the feeling of having somethin that is basically theres (meaning the whole neighborhood). Most has to deal with money and power. Feeling like you have a place in life. Also a big thing that might come as a suprise is the need for respect. Respect from Outsiders of the City who believe OKC is nuthing but country and lil towness. When in reality The people who live the life of the underground know OKC has a very large Urban lifestyle. Its not really tha fact that people think the lifestyle of a gang is attractive they see it as a way of life.

I see you have an eye on the nice buildings off of 10th and western. A buisness there would do great if it fits in with the culture of the neighborhood. I mean a thing such as an Urban Wear Store of some sort or a Center that younger kids can go to and get away from the hussle of the streets. A buisness can survive such as a restraunt also but a restraunt that fits the culture of the neighborhood. if you really can tell The corner of 10th and Western is the opening to the whole neighborhood. Something That gets the attention of the people of the neighborhood is something that we need. Gangs i believe wont stop a buisness from thriving its the buisness owner they jus make it a bit harder but not impossible. As you can see off of Linwood that there are many buisnesses but none to attract atttention from the neighborhood itsself. Midtown right next door is soon to become the next hot spot and a buisness where you are talkin about im sure would grow into that area to. It really depends on what type of buisness you have in mind. I hope one day that I can open a buisness for my neighborhood in whatever it might be to give life to the neighborhood again away from the drugs and gangs. It would take a very strong minded person to open a buisness in an area such as Classen 10 Penn but its not impossible.

08-26-2004, 10:41 PM
Wow okcstylez, we couldn't ask for a better person to comment on this topic. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your view on the gang problem! And we're extremely happy that you chose to go a different direction in life. Although times may be hard, you will be thankful for the choice you made for the rest of your life.

I think you've definitely made it clear just how big of a problem the gang problem really is in our city. Sounds like you really have a clue as to the cause of the problem...something our police department often times doesn't have. Man, you'd an awesome member of the gang unit for the police department. You'd definitely know what you were doing, having grown up around it.

I've always been told that with gangs it's all about territory and the feeling of ownership. I guess that relates somewhat to what you said.

Anyways, thanks so much for the info.

Joe Schmoe, maybe you can open up that business at 10th and Western afterall. You're pretty creative....I bet you could design a business that would prosper in that area!

08-26-2004, 10:42 PM
Oh okcstylez, I have a question for you actually.

In regards to drive by shootings....are most of the people that get shot at associated with a rival gang in some direct or indirect way, or will gangs just shoot up any house? I'm guessing that my former thought is correct, but I wanted to make sure.

08-26-2004, 11:31 PM
Ya they have there target. They just dont have aim. They mostly Shoot all over and shoot the poor lil ol kid or female standing around who has nothing to do with the gang what so ever cept for the fact that they are associated with them threw one way or another such as I am. Alot of times the house they are shooting at has been shot up so many times they wait outside themselves with guns and shoot at the vehicle shooting at them so not only is tha gunfire comming towards the house its going towards the street and across the street which makes it twice as dangerous. Very scary and crazy to go threw (from expieriece).

I feel you where your comming from about gang task but growing up in this neighborhood has made me have a deep hatred for them. They harrass not help. I was at a raid one time and they told a person there with me that he "shot his friend in the head last week and it was great". that is nothing a cop should be saying to anyone especially when they never found anything when they raided us. they just did it cause we were hispanic and looked like thugs to them. Ive also met nice police but none apart of gang task what so ever. Terrible force to me i think the City should put more focus on helping than "Trying" to scare. Trying to scare gang members is just like a cat trying to scare a pit bull. The pit is just going to come after harder. Police have there juristictions and can only do so much but a gang member is free to do what he chooses while they are on the streets. It makes the gang members have more and more hatred towards them and make them not do what the police want them to do not only out of hatred of the rival gang but towards hatred to police themselves something the police seems to not understand or more likely dont want to understand. They are somewhat of a gang themselves but legal u know. So I would love to help but not with the gang task lol i would rather help with city council in offering help to the areas that are hit hard by gangs. And giving my insight to the mayor not the cheif of police who already have there thoughts set on gangs.

08-26-2004, 11:38 PM
Thanks again for the information. You're a great asset to this site.

I hear what you're saying about the police department. My few dealings with them (to try to get something accomplished) hasn't been pleasant. They all act like gods and they all treat the rest of us like scum. They try to act big and tough, which in my opinion is the complete wrong approach.

You seem to have a heart for the gang problem, and I hope in the future you're able to help out with it in some way, whether that be in an elected office, influencing the city council, or whatever.

And by all means.....stay safe!!!

08-27-2004, 02:08 AM
Thnx Patrick,

Yes You are exactly right. Yes The police do act like that. They look down on us which is the worst way of aproaching the situation and in trying to get something accomplished. I hope one day that I will be able to accomplish something in helping This problem our city has.

08-27-2004, 10:50 PM
Sounds like the OKC PD may need sensitivity training!

08-27-2004, 11:12 PM
LOL Hot Rod! You want to join me in teaching a "racial sensitivity" class to our PD? :) They could definitely use it! Most of our police officers could use a little humbling training as well! Too many of them think they're big shots.

08-28-2004, 12:44 AM
Very True. Maybe having a more Diverse police force could help relieve the problem of Racial Identifying. You of course are still going to have your idiots who Do keep the racial profiling thing going on in the force but at least you will have some stabity in not only the street communication with the police but in the force itself.