Office of Congressional Affairs
Operation Triple Beam
TULSA, Oklahoma – Gangs. In every major American city, the presence
of gangs is evident. They take over neighborhoods, recruit new members
at an alarming rate, and, in most cases, are the primary source of
violence. The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) conducts
extensive studies in regards to gang migration and gang violence and has
discerned the following:
• From 2000 to 2008, gang members were responsible for at least 8,560
homicides in the United States.
• There are approximately one million gang members who belong to more
than 20,000 gangs.
• Gang members are responsible for as much as 80% of crime domestically.
The United States Marshals Service (USMS) recognizes the need to reduce
the proliferation of gang members and gang crime and has actively
supported the Department of Justice’s priority of fighting gang
violence. For many years, the USMS has conducted gang reduction
operations such as Operation FALCON, which established a unique
cooperative relationship with its federal, state, and local law
enforcement partners to locate and apprehend the worst violent gang
members. In Fiscal Year 2010, USMS leadership identified gangs as a
priority within its violent crime reduction strategy, and made a
commitment to re-invigorate its gang enforcement efforts. A key element
of this program was the appointment of a dedicated national gang
coordinator to re-focus the agency’s anti-gang violence efforts.
The timing could not have been better. Tulsa, Oklahoma who was recently
listed as the sixth most dangerous cities in the country (Forbes
10/2010) was experiencing one of the most violent summers on record.
Since the first of the year, 33 murders and 565 armed robberies had been
committed on the city’s streets. Gangs were at war and the Tulsa law
enforcement community was in need of help.
Taking note of the unprecedented situation, the USMS-led Northern
District of Oklahoma (N/OK) Violent Crimes Task Force (VCTF) and the
USMS national gang coordinator set out to design a violent crime and
anti-gang reduction pilot operation aimed at removing not only violent
gang members from the streets, but also the guns and drugs that fuel the
Dubbed Operation Triple Beam, the two-week enforcement initiative
employed a systematic and sustained approach specifically focused to
reduce violent gang crime. Members of the N/OK VCTF worked closely with
the Tulsa Police Department Gang Unit to identify the most violent areas
of the city and target the most violent gang members responsible for the
majority of crime. The goal of this operation was to not arrest anyone
and everyone with a gang tattoo or those wearing gang colors; rather, it
was designed to target those gang members who are identified as repeat
offenders and are known around Tulsa as the worst of the worst.
At the conclusion of the operation, a post-operation analysis was
conducted which determined that the operation was, without question, am
unqualified success. However, more impressive and more important to the
Tulsa community was the drastic reduction in violent crime that resulted
from the operation. Statistics have revealed that, since the operation
concluded, homicides in the Tulsa area are down 89%, firearm assaults
are down 52%, and robberies down 36%, proving that the right violent
gang members were targeted and arrested. In addition to the arrests of
163 of the most dangerous gang members, authorities seized 46 firearms,
$15,000 in U.S. currency, and illegal drugs with a street value of more
than $16,000, all in a two-week period.
The operation was such a success that it now represents the USMS’s
overarching gang enforcement strategy, which aims to join anti-gang
resources from federal, state, and local partners, utilizing each
agency’s expertise to remove violent gangs, gang members, and their
weapons, drugs, and cash from our communities. The USMS is currently
working to identify other cities that might benefit from an Operation
Triple Beam initiative, with the goal of assisting local law enforcement
to reduce violent gang crime in their communities.
Operational Impact Statements
“These numbers are unreal and reflect the effort, planning and teamwork
put into this initiative. The numbers are high, but what is even more
impressive is the people arrested were the RIGHT targets!!
Thanks for your efforts and the impressive work your crews put in!”
- Mark McCory (Deputy Chief Tulsa Police Department)
“Guys, thanks for all of the hard work you put in. The drop in
violence around the city reflects that you were nailing our most violent
targets right on the head. This operation has been an outstanding
success by any measure. Hats off!”
- Mathew Kirkland (Detective Division Commander)
"The effects of Operation Triple Beam have continued to be felt on the
streets of Tulsa nearly two months later. After having multiple gang
related shootings and homicides in the months prior to the operation,
the City of Tulsa has not had one gang related homicide since Triple
Beam was put into action. The Organized Gang Unit has regular contacts
with criminal gang members who also speak of the impact the joint agency
operation had on their criminal operations.
"As the supervisor of the Organized Gang Unit, I look forward to our
continued relationship with the United States Marshal Service, and I am
grateful for their partnership with the Tulsa Police Department."
- Sgt. Sean Larkin (Tulsa Police Department Organized Gang Unit
Line for Congressional Staff ONLY: 202-307-9220
Line for the general public: 202-307-9065