CIRV is specifically designed to impact gun-related violence in a core population – chronic violent offenders affiliated with street groups. In 2007, homicides declined to 68, the largest single year decline in homicides since 1991.
Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) has been working with the National Network since 2007 to implement the Group Violence Intervention. CIRV has been at the forefront of designing new methods to institutionalize, govern, and research the strategy within Cincinnati and other National Network cities. Its partnership of law enforcement, street outreach workers, social services providers and researchers has also contributed tremendously to designing the custom notifications process, which communicates individualized information to group members. CIRV has been able to reduce violence quickly and tactically in Cincinnati.
Support and Outreach
The Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) has teamed up with the Hamilton County Office of Reentry as the lead agency for support and outreach. Hamilton County Office of Reentry offers workforce and business development, family and community support, community awareness training, and basic needs. The following are examples of how Cincinnati is working towards meeting a wide range of needs that are in line with the NNSC’s support and outreach model:
The Cincinnati team has created a handout to be distributed at the call-in which asks the following questions: Do you have child support issues? Is your license currently suspended? Do you have any outstanding warrants? Do you have health insurance? Do you have anything on your record that needs to be expunged? Are you currently employed? If no, are you interested in employment? The Cincinnati team has found that the call-in attendees are much more likely to provide accurate contact information because of the specific and supportive nature of the questions on the form. Knowing someone could contact them to help with expunging something from a criminal record, or to assist with child support, is motivating.Those who call to receive support services are assisted by “OG” mentors. These mentors are former group members from the community who gave up a life on the streets and are trying to make a positive impact in the community. They have started support groups that occur every Thursday and are held in a local church. Word has gotten out about these groups, and others have started asking where and when the groups are held.
Providing the "Big Small Stuff"
CIRV fostered relationships with local and state offices to help meet the immediate needs of their clients. One example is the Hamilton County Reentry Office, which works directly with the DMV to establish a payment plan with the group members that allows for their license to remain valid as long as they continue to pay. Furthermore, the group members are immediately enrolled in Affordable Healthcare upon intake. The local jails also enroll inmates in healthcare upon intake. Hamilton County's Re-entry Office has developed a program which offers offenders the chance to have their tattoos removed in order to erase these most obvious marks of prison stigma. Relying on volunteer doctors instead of tax dollars, this program will tear down one of the biggest barriers confronting men and women trying to live down their past. This is an excellent example of the sort of service that is very much needed for a successful transition, but often overlooked.
Protection from Risk
Cincinnati saw the need to relocate witnesses/group members in danger to other towns to keep them safe. Initially, homicide detectives were putting witnesses in hotels in Cincinnati, but the witness protection funding for that ultimately ran out. The GVI support and outreach team established a relationship with the Salvation Army in a couple neighboring towns and is now able to relocate people as needed. The partners at Salvation Army understand the risk these individuals are facing and are ready to continue providing support and resources to group members who are being relocated.
During intake, the CIRV team assesses whether or not the group members are experiencing PTSD. They have partnership with Salvation Army, Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health and Court Clinic where they can send clients in need of trauma treatment.
reduction in group member-involved homicide
"We must strengthen ourselves. We must seek out members of our community who are considering violence, and persuade them to go another direction. We must spotlight the total cost of a flying bullet. We must reinvigorate methods that we know reduce crime and detour potential shooters."
The Cincinnati Police Department's officers are trained to focus on individuals with a history rather than peppering entire groups of people with random questions. The tactic, based on the federal court’s guiding principle of “bias-free policing,” was embraced by neighborhood officers after David Kennedy helped launch Cincinnati's Initiative to Reduce Violence in 2007.
Six months ago, parents could not let their children out of their homes in Avondale without fear. After coordinated efforts between Cincinnati Police and the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV), resident Darlene Gillie says things have changed on Irving Street. “And it’s gonna keep that way.”
Recent shootings inspired partners of Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) to reboot the strategy and focus on the city's hot spots, focusing not only the members of "groups" or gangs, but where they meet.
Community members in the city of Canton, Ohio welcome the revival of the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) in Stark County.
A new study with some of National Network's outside partners, along with the Chicago police department and a MacArthur Foundation grant, shows carefully treating individuals in social networks, not broad-based racial profiling, could reduce gun violence in an unprecedented way.
UC criminal justice researcher Robin Engel (center) works closely with area authorities and social service agencies to disassemble some of the city's most violent groups. Two of those partners in the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence are Stan Ross (left) with Cincinnati Works and Cincinnati Police Lt. Col. James Whalen.