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Watch Now: Tulsa police announce results of ongoing effort to curb gang violence

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Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin and the Crime Gun Unit address the press about a recent initiative to combat gun/gang violence on September 7, 2021, at Tulsa Police Headquarters in Tulsa, OK

Tulsa police say their violent crime initiative is bearing fruit — to the tune of 61 arrests and 203 gun seizures in its first 30 days.

The Tulsa Police Department held a press conference on Tuesday to give the public a peak into the operation, which targets repeat perpetrators of gang-related gun violence.

The arrests and seizures were made with four instances of moderate uses of force, five vehicular pursuits and no shootings, Chief Wendell Franklin added, though he said the latter were expected considering the types of “violent” individuals officers sought.

Prosecutors have filed 115 felony charges in connection with the investigations, Franklin said.

“Most of the individuals have been involved multiple times in multiple shootings,” Franklin said, and as for the guns: “It’s not just handguns we’re talking about; we’re talking about assault rifles and long guns that really wreak havoc on our streets.”

Franklin said he could not yet release the names of those arrested because many of the cases are “intertwined.” Naming one individual might compromise an ongoing investigation, he said.

Since April, crime and intelligence analysts have linked more than 80 incidents to gang feuds.

Franklin said the analysts have largely driven the direction of the investigations as they uncover links among guns, shooters, accomplices and victims, but TPD leadership’s first step in addressing the uptick in violence was to meet with affected community representatives and partners.

They then deployed specialized units from five divisions throughout the city and enlisted help from patrol officers in each uniform division, along with assistance from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The forensics lab was also “crucial” in getting the necessary data to analysts quickly, Franklin said.

He could not say how many of the guns seized were stolen, but he emphasized that nonviolent offenses, such as the theft of a gun from a car, can quickly lead to violence.

“These guns are making their way into the hands of individuals that are going to create violence on our streets,” Franklin said.

That is why, he urged, it is so important for residents to lock their car doors and secure their personal firearms.

“If you think your car is safe in your driveway at nighttime or during the day, it is not,” Franklin said. “There are people that literally go around at nighttime, and all they do is check doors. They’re not going to break the window, but they check door handles, and if your doors are unlocked — if you forgot to lock that car door and you have a firearm in that vehicle — it’s not going to be there in the morning.”

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