If you look around social media, odds are you'll find at least some people talking about how dangerous Lawton is. It's completely understandable given the history of this town. Even I grew up in a time when Lawton was warned about statewide, and my parents always told me to stay on the highway when traveling through here. Even though I traveled through Lawton most of my life, I never actually got off Rogers Lane until I moved here fifteen years ago. It was that bad.

So what made it such a rough town?

I can't really speculate on that, I'm not a Townie that experienced it, but looking at the stats over the last fifty years, there are some things that jump out.

Tell the truth now, have you ever been to a "nice" military town? Be honest now... Just in Oklahoma, there are military facilities in Altus, Lawton, Enid, McAlester, and the odd man out is Tinker AFB. Everyone says "It's in Oklahoma City" but that's not true. It's between the two ghettos of Midwest City and Del City - AKA - two places you're most likely to either be shot or see someone get shot. It's the same across the country. Big nice cities are close, but most exist in the small, lesser preferred towns that somehow all seem the same.

From what I gather, Lawton used to be built on the businesses of pawnshops and bars. The strip that used to be Fort Sill Boulevard was once a happening place. Nudie bars, dance halls, even a legendary rock and roll club once found a home just off post. Add in elected officials that always put themselves first (pause to see if that sounds familiar now) and an industry built on slum-lording some pretty terrible housing.

Thankfully, that era has somewhat changed in Lawton. Some politicians seeking positive change managed to bring it through the 1990's and into the 2000's. We just hope the wrecking crew in city hall doesn't manage to screw things up.

Does that mean that Lawton is safe? Well, no. Not particularly. Like every other town out there, we still have problems with property crime and the occasional violent outburst... and every time something happens, it's the people that lead the smallest lives that claim Lawton is "the most violent place in the world" as they "just can't even."

Luckily, the FBI compiles stats for each state on the regular, and the list of the most dangerous cities in Oklahoma in 2021 is one of the things that is hard to digest for some is Lawton no longer appears on that list. That's something to celebrate... just hopefully without the celebratory gunfire.

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