• 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
Research

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

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.


Results


27%

reduction in shootings among notified violent groups

Boston

41%

reduction in group member-involved homicide

Cincinnati

63%

reduction in youth homicide

Boston

34%

reduction in homicide

Indianapolis

42%

reduction in gun homicide through Stockton Operation Peacekeeper, 1997-2002

Stockton

44%

reduction in gun assaults through Project Safe Neighborhooods

Lowell

News & Updates

SCMPD Chief Lumpkin Talks About Operation Ceasefire

July 2015  |  WSAV 3  

Police Chief Jack Lumpkin discusses Operation Ceasefire.

Tags: Group Violence Intervention

Chief Lumpkin gives Operation Ceasefire update

July 2015  |  WJCL  

Savannah-Chatham County Metropolitan Police Chief Joseph Lumpkin gave the media an update on Operation Ceasefire on Tuesday.

Tags: Group Violence Intervention

Police and the Public – Part 2: Gary Police partners with Department of Justice

July 2015  |  WNDU  

The Gary Police Department is getting special attention -- and major grant money -- from the Department of Justice.

Tags: Gary Group Violence Intervention Reconciliation

New York trip set in local crime reduction effort

July 2015  |  Savannah Now  

A group of prosecutors, police, elected officials and community leaders will travel to New York from July 15-17 to meet with a nationally known criminologist and discuss a program designed to help stop violent crime.

Tags: Group Violence Intervention

Englewood Residents Say “Don’t Shoot” Signs Working

July 2015  |  CBS Chicago  

In Chicago, ‪Englewood‬ residents have been seeing more “Don’t Shoot” signs and less gun violence. Signs like “Don’t Shoot, Kids at Play” are sending street gangs a moral message about the negative impact violence has on the community. It turns out community members, including some gang members, posted the signs after a notification meeting with Supt. Garry McCarthy and other ‪‎Chicago‬ VRS partners. They seem to be having an impact.

Tags: Chicago Group Violence Intervention

Anti-violence program having “profound impact” in Chicago area

July 2015  |  Fox 32 News  

Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy has been making a serious difference in ‪Chicago‬ communities, Fox News Chicago reports. Chris Mallette of Chicago VRS, along with police and community members, has spoken directly to several hundred high-risk people letting them know they're important to the community, but that the ‪‎violence‬ needs to stop. “We believe that the moral voice of the community still exists, it's always existed...it has a profound impact." The approach is promising: it appears to be reducing both violent victimization and offending among those notified. Many are also reaching out for help.

Tags: Chicago Group Violence Intervention Custom Notifications

U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis: ‘Don’t shoot’ program a valuable policing tool

July 2015  |  State Journal Register  

"It worked in Peoria. Law enforcement identified and prosecuted the very few who drove the violent crime. And law enforcement, together with community voices and leaders, called in people who appeared tempted toward violent crime. These call-ins were open to the public and included messages from law enforcement, social services, ex-offenders, the faith community and other moral voices, all spelling out the expectation that people in Peoria should not shoot one another."

Tags: Peoria Group Violence Intervention

Attorney General Loretta Lynch to bring community policing tour to Birmingham

June 2015  |  AL.com  

Attorney General Loretta Lynch is visiting ‪‎Birmingham‬, Alabama, as part of a national tour to highlight collaborative projects, such as the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice and the recently-announced Birmingham Violence Reduction Initiative, based on the National Network for Safe Communities' Group Violence Intervention.

Tags: Group Violence Intervention Reconciliation

The Don’t Shoot Initiative changes man’s life

May 2015  |  CI News Now  

An effort is being made in Peoria to help reduce repeat offenses. Those who've had a run-in with the law can reach out for help, thanks to the Don't Shoot initiative.

Tags: Peoria Group Violence Intervention

Don’t Shoot Call-In Targets New Group Of Offenders

May 2015  |  WMBD  

Nine men with ties to local gangs were told to put the guns down, or risk going to jail — and to take the message back to their “group.”

Tags: Peoria Group Violence Intervention



SUPPORT & OUTREACH



Implementation

Canton, OH

Cleveland, OH

Concord, NC

Dallas, TX

Dayton, OH

Flint, MI

Fresno, CA

Graham, NC

Hillsborough, NC

Indianapolis, IN

Kalamazoo, MI

Lancaster, PA

Long Beach, CA

Madison, WI

Milwaukee, WI

Oklahoma City, OK

Omaha, NE

Oxnard, CA

Pittsburgh, PA

Portland, OR

Richmond, CA

Sacramento, CA

Salinas, CA

Salisbury, NC

San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, AZ

Shelby, NC

Syracuse, NY

Toledo, OH

Winston-Salem, NC