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.
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.
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 gang-member involved homicide
reduction in gun assaults through Project Safe Neighborhooods
Over the last four years in South Bend, shootings have gone up during the summer months. However, this year has been different. Homicide is down this summer and the South Bend community leaders involved in the city's Group Violence Intervention think it's due to the success of the call-in meeting held in May, where law enforcement, community activists, and service providers spoke directly to group members about stopping the violence. South Bend held it's second call-in August 28th.
Don't Shoot in Peoria held it's sixth call-in with group members, and the dedicated community members involved in the strategy believe the message is getting across.
Two and a half months after South Bend's first call-in, GVI coordinator Dominic Zultanski says the number of shootings in South Bend are down. Out of the 21 men who attended May's call-in, fifteen men have accepted offers for services.
During a visit to Bridgeport, Gov. Dan Malloy said that programs like Project Longevity is part of a coordinated effort to keep the state's young people safer. Bridgeport's chapter of Project Longevity has reached out to 79 potential offenders between the ages of 17 and 34 — some of them with records of violent crimes — inviting them to group meetings with police officers and other members of the community to talk about the consequences of violent activity and offering to help them find jobs.
As of June 30, Kansas City homicides were down 31 percent from the same time last year. Coincidence or not, the decrease comes during the first months of a reorganization in the way the Kansas City Police Department fights violent crime, and follows the first full year of the ambitious and multifaceted Kansas City No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA).
Andrew Papachristos points to what he calls "the crime gap" — the huge disparity in homicide rates in different areas of the Windy City. "Even though the numbers in Chicago are what they are, the gap between the worst neighborhoods and the best neighborhoods is massive," he said. The neighborhoods that have had the highest rates of violence over the last half-century still see the most violence.
Prior to his return to the department a year ago, Police Chief James Craig began his career in law enforcement in Detroit in 1977 and has since then served in Los Angeles and Cincinnati. "We need to drive the message. We need to tell the story. We need to talk about our crime reduction efforts. We need to talk about the community’s perception,” Craig said.
Kansas City closed out June with good reasons to be encouraged that efforts to abate violent crimes may be showing results. "Using intelligence to get ahead of violence is huge," said Kansas City Police Capt. Joe McHale, who is working with Kansas City NoVA, one of the innovative ways of deploying police resources, one of the efforts that may be having results.
As he begins his second full week on the job, Chief of Police Fred Fletcher says Chattanooga's Violence Reduction Initiative is on track.