LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Just hours after the announcement of dozens of arrests from “Operation Ceasefire”, Little Rock saw one of its most violent nights in weeks; two shootings, one stabbing, and a homicide.
“Ceasefire” was a campaign by local and federal law enforcement agencies to crackdown on violence.
The effort led to the arrests of 61 of the city’s most wanted criminals, but it may be some time before the impacts are felt.
The U.S. Attorney’s office said the violence wouldn’t end overnight, but a look at Little Rock’s past tells us future changes may be coming – just not immediately. The city has been here before; back in 2017, violent crime was on the rise, with local and federal agencies trying their best to stop the rampant drug and gang activity causing chaos in Little Rock.
The U.S. Attorney’s office partnered with LRPD and other federal agencies on two different campaigns.
In February of that year, they first rounded up 41 felons across the county, focusing on what then-acting U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer called “some of the worst criminals in Pulaski County”. But by the end of 2017, Little Rock still saw 55 homicides. See the numbers HERE.
The real change came a year later after a similar operation when a team of local and federal agents akin to “Ceasefire” arrested 21 people in one push.
That effort combined with a new approach from LRPD and the effects of the national “Project Safe Neighborhood” led to a significant decrease in the number of both homicides and shootings.
According to data from LRPD, there were 15 fewer killings than in 2017, and 47 fewer first-degree battery charges, but to get to that time of peace, the city had a rocky start – 7 homicides in the month following the crackdown.
In this latest operation, law enforcement hopes to see a similar dip in the violence, even for a few months.
That trend in 2018 didn’t last the whole year; Little Rock still saw 10 homicides in November after the peaceful fall, and crime rates steadily climbed through 2019 and 2020.
This year, violent crime is up 16% since 2020, and LRPD reported 25 homicides since the first of January.