WASHINGTON — A six-week crime-sweeping initiative in 12 cities, including Baltimore and the nation’s capital, proved fruitful for the Department of Justice.
The agency’s “Operation Violence Reduction 12” resulted in 8,075 total arrests.
Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, joined by U.S. Marshals Service Deputy Director David Harlow and Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, announced Wednesday that the initiative netted, among others, 559 people charged with homicides and 648 gang members.
“Because of smart, targeted and well-planned efforts of the Marshals Service and our law enforcement partners, communities all over the country are safer today,” Yates said at a press conference. She added that limited resources stop her department from conducting such sweeps more often.
Besides Baltimore and Washington, the cities included Brooklyn, N.Y. ; Camden, N.J.; Chicago; Compton, Fresno and Oakland, Calif.; Gary, Ind.; Milwaukee; New Orleans; and Savannah, Ga.
Harlow said even though the effort focused on these cities specifically, the impact was felt nationwide. He also said the operation focused on ridding streets of gang members and sex offenders.
“(Operation Violence Reduction 12) was designed to help our local communities deal with the problem of violent crimes by getting the most dangerous criminals off their streets,” Yates said.
The average fugitive was 35 years old, had three prior convictions and seven prior arrests, according to Harlow.
Davis said 148 fugitives were arrested in Baltimore during the six-week span from Feb. 1 to March 11 – 23 of whom were wanted for murder.
Davis not only credited the Operation Violence Reduction 12 initiative but also the community for sharing information with law enforcement.
As a result of the operation, Carl Cooper, also known as “Baltimore’s Public Enemy No. 1,” according to Baltimore’s police department, was captured on March 4 in Fayetteville, NC.
Cooper was wanted in connection with the shooting of an elderly brother and sister on Feb. 22 at the Walbrook Junction Shopping Center in Baltimore.
Cooper allegedly accidentally shot the 90-year-old sister and 82-year-old brother by mistake when he missed his target, a rival drug dealer. Both were wounded but survived.
Davis called Cooper “a poster child for violent repeat offenders,” citing his attempted murder and assault charges as well as drug and handgun violations.
“We told folks in Baltimore that 2016 is going to be a different year,” Davis said. “When we know you’re wanted for a crime, we are going to talk about you. If we have video, we’re going to put a video out about you…We’re going to plaster your name throughout our community until we bring you into custody.”