The Group Violence Intervention (GVI) reduces violent crime when community members join together with law enforcement and social service providers to focus an antiviolence message on highly active street groups.
The Group Violence Intervention (GVI) has shown repeatedly that a city can dramatically reduce homicide and gun violence when community members and law enforcement join together to directly engage with these groups and clearly communicate 1) a credible, moral message against violence; 2) a credible law enforcement message about the consequences of further violence; and 3) a genuine offer of help for those who want it.
Pioneered by National Network Director David Kennedy and colleagues as "Operation Ceasefire" in Boston during the 1990s, the intervention was responsible for a 63 percent reduction in youth homicide that came to be known as “The Boston Miracle.” The strategy requires that people from disparate backgrounds, often with competing priorities, work together in unusual ways and focus on a single goal: reducing serious violence in their community.
A real working partnership among stakeholders within law enforcement, community members and social services is the strategy’s most important element and also its greatest challenge. The explicit aim is to reduce pro-violence peer dynamics within gangs by creating collective accountability, fostering internal dynamics that deter violence, establishing community norms and standards against violence, and giving gang members who want it an “honorable exit” from the street life.
The National Network produced Group Violence Intervention: An Implementation Guide, published by COPS Office in 2013, to provide a practical tool for stakeholders seeking to implement GVI in their jurisdiction.
A comprehensive guide to the National Network's Group Violence Intervention strategy. This guide covers all relevant steps to the strategy from initial planning and problem analysis to enforcement actions and call-in implementation, and further considers issues of maintenance, integrity, sustainability and accountability to offer interested parties a step-by-step guide to successfully implementing GVI in any jurisdiction.
This guide provides practical information about "custom notifications," an independent element of GVI that enables quick, tactical, direct communication to particular group members. This publication presents the custom notifications process, explains its value within the broader strategy, details its use by several national practitioners, and encourages further development.
This guide begins with a brief description of the shooting scorecard concept and its links to problem analysis and performance measurement systems in police departments. It then presents the key steps in the process and associated data quality issues and then details the use of shooting scorecards by the Boston Police Department as an example of the practical applications of this approach.
A complete guide for law enforcement, community, and social services partners already engaged in implementing the Group Violence Intervention to design, prepare, and execute their first and subsequent call-ins.
For the Group Violence Intervention to achieve its desired outcomes, stakeholders must be authentic and their messages credible. For law enforcement this means making good on the promise of swift and meaningful consequences for a group or gang as a whole when a prohibited violent act (usually shooting or killing) is committed by one of its members. This document captures examples of successful and creative law enforcement responses to group violence as carried out by police departments and their partner agencies in key National Network jurisdictions.
This paper briefly reviews the research on the crime control effectiveness of "pulling levers" focused deterrence programs. Focused deterrence strategies honor core deterrence ideas, such as increasing risks faced by offenders, while finding new and creative ways of deploying traditional and non-traditional law enforcement tools to do so, such as communicating incentives and disincentives directly to targeted offenders.
In this brief, K. Tate Chambers outlines a step-by-step application of the New Orleans Strategy to combat violent street crews and how it was employed in Don't Shoot Peoria's focused deterrence crime prevention plan. This article outlines the 14 steps used by Don't Shoot Peoria to implement the focused deterrence strategy and also explains some of the practical applications of these steps.
The Institute of the Study & Practice of Nonviolence in Providence is a national pioneer in training and employing professional street outreach workers to address and prevent violence. It has also forged a highly effective partnership with the Providence Police Department that the National Network for Safe Communities believes can serve as a model for other jurisdictions seeking to utilize street outreach workers as part of implementing the Group Violence Intervention. In this webinar, the Institute’s Executive Director Teny Gross and Streetworker Program Manager Ajay Benton discuss the following key issues: Principles and Practice of Nonviolence; Training; Hiring & Firing; Partnering With Police, Schools, and Hospitals; Selecting Target Clients; Managing Risks; Managing Public Relations; Measuring Success. Click here for the webinar's PowerPoint.
Social network analysis— the scientific tool behind social media like Facebook and Twitter—is used widely in the private sector to understand markets and organizations and in the health sector to understand the spread of disease. It can be used just as effectively to devise new ways to reduce violent crime. Leadership Group jurisdictions Chicago and Cincinnati have been at the forefront of applying social network analysis in crime prevention. In this webinar, Andrew Papachristos, Ph.D., a national expert and the research partner of the Chicago Police Department, and Captain Daniel Gerard of the Cincinnati Police Department will demonstrate how social network analysis is applied in the context of the Group Violence Intervention. Key issues addressed include: Mapping of group, gang and faction structures and relationships; designing surgically precise enforcement actions; expanding knowledge of group membership using commonly available administrative data; identifying the most influential group members for taking antiviolence messages back to affiliates. Click here for the webinar's PowerPoint.
This webinar focuses on innovative techniques for communicating key messages to offenders, potential offenders and affected communities as part of the National Network's group violence reduction and drug market strategies. Key issues include: Best practices in the "classic" call-in format; Voluntary call-ins for gang members; Home visits with impact players; Custom legal assessments; Prison call-ins; The use of "influentials" in both strategies; Emphasizing legitimacy in the call-in; Use of social network analysis.
Social network analysis is an integral part of Chicago's Violence Reduction Strategy (VRS). It is used to expand and improve the police department's intelligence on gangs, groups and local gang factions; to identify the most socially connected group and gang members to take the VRS anti-violence message back to their associates; and to assess the impact of law enforcement efforts on groups or gangs. This document outlines three examples of social network analysis as a tool to narrowly and effectively focus law enforcement resources on group violence.
A report about the groundbreaking home/street visits approach developed by the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) to keep its anti-violence message "fresh" in between its formal court house call-ins. The CIRV team identifies key impact players within groups active in crime hot-spots, meets with them face-to-face at their homes or in the streets, and delivers the message in a way that has led to substantial reductions in shootings around the city.
This brief explores the role and purpose of demonstration, and subsequent, group enforcement actions ("crackdowns") associated with the law enforcement component of the Group Violence Intervention, including talking points for presenting these actions within actual call-ins/notification meetings with group and gang members.
This PowerPoint presentation summarizes findings from an evaluation of the impact of Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) initiatives on neighborhood level crime rates in Chicago. Several PSN interventions were found to be associated with greater declines of homicide in the treatment neighborhoods compared to the control neighborhoods. Out of four interventions analyzed, the largest effect was associated with the offender notifications that stress individual deterrence, normative change in offender behavior, and increasing views on legitimacy and procedural justice.
This PowerPoint presentation, by Robert A.J. Lang, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, and Jodi A. Ramirez, Law Enforcement Coordinator/Program Manager of Project Safe Cabarrus, sets out how to create the partnerships and agency structures necessary to successfully implement and sustain the group violence strategy. It includes guidelines on how best to overcome common institutional barriers as well as best practices for sustaining the initiative.
The document provides a description of the Project Manager position in this initiative. The Project Manager is responsible for coordinating community-wide resources, agencies, and committees as part of the federally funded Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) initiative. PSN is based in part on the National Network's group violence strategy.
This PowerPoint presentation, by CIRV Executive Director Greg Baker, provides an outline of the structure, processes and outcomes of the initiative, aimed at reducing gun violence and homicides in Cincinnati.
This PowerPoint presentation by the High Point Police Department includes an outline of the theory underlying the group violence strategy, a step-by-step implementation guide, a link analysis of the groups engaged in violent crime in High Point, and details of the department's organizational realignment to more effectively support its mission of crime reduction.
Braga, A., Weisburd, D. L. (2012). The Effects of “Pulling Levers” Focused Deterrence Strategies on Crime. Campbell Systematic Reviews. DOI: 10.4073/csr.2012.6
Braga, A. A., Weisburd, D.L. (2012). Pulling Levers Focused Deterrence Strategies to Prevent Crime. No. 6 of Crime Prevention Research Review. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Braga, A. A., Hureau, D., & Winship, C. (2008). Losing Faith? Police, Black Churches, and the Resurgence of Youth Violence in Boston. Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, 6 (1) 141-172
Braga, A. A., McDevitt, J., & Pierce, G. L. (2006). Understanding and Preventing Gang Violence: Problem Analysis and Response Development in Lowell, Massachusetts. Police Quarterly, 9 (1) 20-46
Braga, A A., Kennedy, D.M., Piehl, A.M., & Waring, E.J. (2001, September). Reducing Gun Violence: The Boston Gun Project’s Operation Ceasefire. National Institute of Justice Research Report
Kennedy, D.M. (2008). Deterrence and Crime Prevention: Reconsidering the Prospect of Sanction. NY: Routledge
NEW! Mazerolle, L., Bennett, S., Davis, J., Sargeant, E., Manning, M. (2012) Legitmacy in Policing. Campbell Systematic Reviews.
Meares, T. L.(2009). The Legitimacy of Police Among Young African-American Men. Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 528.
McGarrell, E., & Chermak, S. (2003, October). Strategic Approaches to Reducing Firearms Violence: Final Report on the Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership. National Criminal Justice Reference Service
Papachristos, A. V., Meares, T., & Fagan, J. (2007). Attention Felons: Evaluating Project Safe Neighborhoods in Chicago. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 4 (2) 223-272.
reduction in gun homicide through Stockton Operation Peacekeeper, 1997-2002
reduction in youth homicide
reduction in homicides
Last week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher D. Poole was recognized by the National Association of Former U.S. Attorneys with the Exceptional Service Award for his work with Chattanooga's Violence Reduction Initiative, initiated by the city in 2013. U.S. Attorney Killian congratulated him, “The Eastern District of Tennessee is fortunate to have many quality federal prosecutors. I am proud that Assistant U.S. Attorney Poole was recognized for his exceptional work with this important initiative with the city of Chattanooga.”
Tensions between police and community members fueled by stop and frisk and “hot spots” policing bring issues surrounding police legitimacy to the fore, particularly in high crime areas and communities of color. In this video webinar, panels discuss the variations in practice across police departments, how research can inform efforts to control crime while enhancing police-community relations, and identify the challenges ahead.
Recent research suggests that police diversity and police-involved shootings are not related, despite widespread belief. Instead, the key element, as experts and cops suggest, is communication and understanding. Tracey Meares, who developed a strategy to instruct officers to explain how their actions can hurt their community rather than making aggressive demand agrees that while diversity can be important, what really matters on the ground is how an officer handles an interaction. “What really matters to people, more than how representative of the population a police force is, is how they treat people." Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin notes,"cultural competencies are really important.”
As part of Baltimore's Operation Ceasefire, Baltimore PD made a drug bust netting $3 million in heroin and cash–all from one suspect who had recently attended an Operation Ceasefire call-in.
At a call-in meeting in Oakland, the police profess love and respect for the group members and now homicides are now on the decline. Could the two be connected?
Due to the initiative's recent success, the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination team expanded its' efforts to cover the second most violent area of the city. BRAVE now covers the areas that account for over 50 percent of Baton Rouge’s violent crime.
GVI efforts in Louisiana's two largest cities has produced a prominent national award for New Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro and East Baton Rouge DA Hillar Moore. DA Leon Cannizzaro’s work with GVRS and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit in New Orleans won recognition from FBI director James B. Comey and the 2014 Director's Award for Distinguished Service to the Law Enforcement Community. This marks the first time a New Orleans district attorney has won the Director's Award.
Closing the crime gap entails more than just policing and new city ordinances, writes Yale University's Andrew Papachristos. Among the numerous gaps that contribute to inequality, closing the crime gap also means thinking about ways to enhance the legitimacy and fairness of our criminal justice system.
New Orleans is using a data driven innovation strategy to reduce violence after having studied strategies used by other cities like Memphis, Chicago, and University of Cincinnati's Robin Engel. “The biggest thing that went against common belief is that a lot of our violence was related to groups and gangs,” says Charles West, who was appointed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu to lead the New Orleans innovation delivery team. “We were always told that we didn’t have a gang problem. But we had gangs of significant size, and people just weren’t talking about it. More than anything, there wasn’t a specific form of policing strategy for groups and gangs.”
On September 10th, NJ mayors of Jersey City, Newark and Paterson, prosecutors, police chiefs, and criminal justice experts convened at the Urban Mayors Roundtable on public safety at Rutgers University’s Police Institute to discuss strategies to reduce crime including focused deterrence responses to violence and building trust with the community. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka spoke of the debilitating effects of aggressive policing in minority neighborhoods, adding, “We have to have a police strategy that’s focused on the 1 percent we keep talking about as opposed to this big net." In addition, Newark Public Safety Director Eugene Venable spoke about Newark’s Violence Reduction Initiative.