• Group Violence Intervention

    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.

About the Strategy
Tools & Guides

The Group Violence Intervention (GVI) is designed to reduce street group-involved homicide and gun violence. Pioneered by National Network Director David Kennedy and colleagues as “Operation Ceasefire” in Boston during the 1990s, it has been implemented widely nationally, including currently in the very challenging cities of Chicago, New Orleans, Oakland, and Baltimore, and has acquired a strong formal evaluation record, as presented in the gold-standard Campbell Collaboration Systematic Review.

GVI has repeatedly demonstrated that violence can be dramatically reduced when a partnership of community members, law enforcement, and social service providers directly engages with the small and active number of people involved in street groups and clearly communicates a credible moral message against violence, prior notice about the consequences of further violence, and a genuine offer of help for those who want it. A central method of communication is the call-in, a face-to-face meeting between group members and the strategy’s partners.

The aim of the GVI strategy is to reduce peer dynamics in the group that promote violence by creating collective accountability, to foster internal social pressure that deters violence, to establish clear community standards against violence, to offer group members an “honorable exit” from committing acts of violence, and to provide a supported path for those who want to change.

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.

Group Violence Intervention: An Implementation Guide

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.

Custom Notifications: Individualized Communication in the Group Violence Intervention

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.

Managing the Group Violence Intervention: Using Shooting Scorecards to Track Group Violence

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.

Call-In Preparation and Execution Guide

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.

Four Case Studies of Swift and Meaningful Law Enforcement

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.

Pulling Levers Focused Deterrence Strategies to Prevent Crime

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.

The Effects of “Pulling Levers” Focused Deterrence Strategies on Crime

This report is a meta-analysis that evaluates impact on homicide and violence in a variety of cities that have implemented our Group Violence Intervention or the Drug Market Intervention.

Philadelphia Focused Deterrence Call-in (May 16, 2013)

This is a May 16, 2013 "call-in" meeting of the Philadelphia Focused Deterrence initiative, at which Philadelphia community members, law enforcement, and social service providers join together and use the National Network for Safe Communities' method of communicating directly with active gang and street group members.


Baton Rouge BRAVE Call-in (September 23, 2014)

This is a September 23, 2014 "call-in" meeting of the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination (BRAVE) initiative, at which Baton Rouge community members, law enforcement, and social service providers join together and use the National Network for Safe Communities' method of communicating directly with active gang and street group members.

Developing a Step-by-Step Application of the New Orleans Strategy to Combat Violent Street Crews In a Focused Deterrence Strategy

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. 

Webinar: Employing Streetworkers to Address Group Violence (2011)

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.

Webinar: Communicating with Offenders—Innovative Notification Strategies (2010)

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. 

Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy: Applications of Social Network Analysis (2011)

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.

Webinar: Using Social Network Analysis in Crime Prevention (2011)

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.

Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence: Home/Street Visits (2011)

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.

Practice Brief: Group Enforcement Actions and Talking Points (2010)

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.

Integrating and Evaluating Multiple PSN Strategies in Chicago (2009)

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.

Building Collaborative Violent Crime Task Force Structures (2009)

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.

Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) – Organizational Structure, Processes and Outcomes (2009)

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.

Project Safe Cabarraus – Program Manager Position (2009)

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.

Controlling Gang Violence in High Point – High Point Police Department (2008)

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

Corsaro, N., & Engel, R. S. (2015). Most Challenging of Contexts: Assessing the Impact of Focused Deterrence on Serious Violence in New OrleansCriminology & Public Policy, 14(3). DOI:10.1111/1745-9133.12142.

Kennedy, D.M. (2008). Deterrence and Crime Prevention: Reconsidering the Prospect of Sanction. NY: Routledge.

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., & Kirk, D. S. (2015). Changing the Street Dynamic: Evaluating Chicago’s Group Violence Reduction StrategyCriminology & Public Policy, 14(3). DOI:10.1111/1745-9133.12142.

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 group member-involved homicide



reduction in shootings among notified violent groups



reduction in homicide



reduction in gun assaults through Project Safe Neighborhooods



reduction in youth homicide


News & Updates

Officials say Don’t Shoot program’s renewed focus on deterrence is yielding results

September 2015  |  Peoria Journal Star  

"As local law enforcement officials prepared for another call-in Wednesday night in the Don’t Shoot anti-violence initiative, the area’s top prosecutors say two rounds of federal indictments under the program have yielded results..."

Tags: Peoria Group Violence Intervention

A Tale of 3 cities: LA, NYC Outpace Chicago in Curbing Violence

September 2015  |  Chicago Tribune  

"As summer waned in recent weeks, bringing to an end what is often the most violent season of the year, New York City officials tallied 239 people killed in homicides. Los Angeles police counted 201 killed in about the same period. But Chicago, whose population is dwarfed by both major coastal cities, saw a much more grim death toll, with 325 killed in homicides by Sept. 6."

Tags: ChicagoLos AngelesNew York City Group Violence Intervention

More than two years into BRAVE, Baton Rouge officials still ‘calling in’ young gang members

September 2015  |  The Advocate  

John Oubre

"Two-and-a-half years after Baton Rouge launched a crime-fighting experiment aimed at convincing young gang members to walk away from their groups, 33 people have put down their weapons and embraced social services offered by law enforcement and community members, officials said."

Tags: Baton Rouge Group Violence Intervention

Chattanooga police to embed social workers with officers

September 2015  |  Chattanooga Times Free Press  

"The Chattanooga Police Department will use $600,000 in grant money to hire social workers who will embed with officers, respond to calls and help victims through the trauma of a crime, according to police. nChief Fred Fletcher hopes the hires will fundamentally change the way officers support victims of crime and push the department to become more "victim-centered."

Tags: Chattanooga Group Violence Intervention ReconciliationSupport and Outreach

Despite murder spike, Kansas City should stick with crime-fighting plan

September 2015  |  Kansas City Star  

Kansas City Star editorial board expresses their support for the KC NoVA strategy, even in the face of difficult crime trends.

Tags: Kansas City Group Violence Intervention

Criminal Justice Reform Proliferating Across the Country

September 2015  |  Epoch Times  

Gary Feuerberg/Epoch Times

"Much of what we have been doing, especially in the hard hit places, in the name of crime prevention, is in fact criminogenic. So, we should stop doing those things." Director David Kennedy contributes to a panel, and article, on the future of criminal justice reform and crime.

Tags: Group Violence Intervention

Operation Ceasefire

September 2015  |  The Savannah Tribune  

Op-Ed by Chief Jack Lumpkin and District Attorney Meg Heap promoting the start of Operation Ceasefire in Savannah.

Tags: Group Violence Intervention

“This Is a Fundamentally Different Way of Policing”

September 2015  |  Slate  

Adrees Latif/Reuters

"Can Susan Herman repair the broken relationship between the New York Police Department and the city’s most disadvantaged residents?" Mark Obbie profiles Susan Herman and discusses the role of NYC Ceasefire in the city's new approach.

Tags: New York City Group Violence Intervention Reconciliation

Salinas violence reduction efforts show promise

August 2015  |  The Californian  

"The National Council on Crime and Delinquency has found that local strategies being used to reduce violence in Salinas may be working, as explained in an evaluation published this month. The Community Alliance for Safety and Peace, a coalition of Salinas organizations and leaders, was created in 2008 to address gang violence in the area with an initial focus on the Hebbron Heights neighborhood."

Tags: Salinas Group Violence Intervention

Report details early struggles, recent success of KC’s NoVA program

August 2015  |  KMBC  

"A Kansas City group that hopes to stop crime before it starts had early stumbles, but now is starting to see the results of its work."

Tags: Kansas City Group Violence Intervention


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