WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Hundreds of people wanted for violent crimes, dozens of guns, and pounds of drugs are now off the street after Phase II of Operation North Star.
It’s an effort spearheaded by the U.S. Marshals Service, which partnered with state and local law enforcement to go after people they believe are dangerous in 10 cities across the U.S.
The U.S.M.S says their officers went to the 10 U.S. cities with the highest murder rates: Albuquerque, Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Jackson, Mississippi, Kansas City, Missouri, Milwaukee, Oakland and Puerto Rico.
In those places, they worked with state and local law enforcement to identify the top people wanted for serious violent crimes. Over the span of a month, they made 833 total arrests. They also seized 181 firearms and hundreds of pounds of drugs.
“If the United States Marshal Service is knocking on your door, you better believe that the person on the other side is wanted for something very significant,” U.S. Marshals Service Director Ronald Davis said. “The people that we’re focusing on with laser focus are the most significant drivers of crime in the community.”
Director Davis says they used a data-driven approach to identify and target specific people, and to prevent over policing people who live in high crime areas. He says in many communities, it’s just a handful of people committing the worst crimes.
“So by targeting those small number of people then you can basically have an impact on crime and violence without the collateral damage of losing trust or legitimacy in the community,” Davis said.
The goal of this operation goes beyond just the immediate arrests. The hope is to make a longer-term impact on crime in those communities.
“As we work with the communities, I think the more we work with them the more they address the issues of the root causes,” Davis said. “The more that we do remove those drives of crime I think together will make a huge difference.”
He says the operation aims to help law enforcement connect with communities to identify why crime is happening and build trust. While Director Davis does say he feels proud of the work done in Phase II of Operation North Star, he also recognizes there’s more to do.
“I also feel challenged that we need to increase, we need to continue, we need to keep working with our partners, because we are just scratching the surface,” Davis said.