The South Bend Group Violence Intervention is an unprecedented partnership between law enforcement, social services and concerned community citizens united by a common goal to stop gun violence and keep South Bend’s highest risk citizens safe, alive and out of prison.
With National Network assistance, South Bend Group Violence Intervention (SBGVI) unites community leaders around a common goal: to stop gun violence and keep South Bend’s highest risk citizens alive and out of prison. SBGVI is a partnership among South Bend law enforcement, government, education, civil service, health-care and faith-based agencies. SBGVI advocates direct, sustained engagement with street groups, which cause the majority of South Bend’s gun violence. The strategy empowers community members to set clear moral standards against violence in their communities and reclaim a voice in the way they want to live. It coordinates the efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement to focus crime prevention efforts on the groups most associated with gun violence. SBGVI also draws on the expertise of social service providers to offer group members a path away from violence. South Bend launched GVI in 2013 and conducted a first call-in in spring 2014.
Despite an increase in calls for help in South Bend in 2016, police used force in fewer cases, and citizen complaints against officers decreased significantly. Homicides and gang-related shootings were also down from the previous year's totals.
South Bend, IN Chief of Police Scott Ruszkowski penned an op-ed detailing his department's approach to policing, and his belief in the necessity of a strong relationship with the community.
"Once a month the South Bend Police Department invites the community to join officers as they talk about crime in their community."
"Shootings in South Bend decreased by about 20 percent through the first quarter this year, and those that involved gang activity dropped by 40 percent, according to the latest police statistics."
"The South Bend Police Department is working to prevent gun violence before it begins, by specifically targeting gang members.Tuesday night The Group Violence Intervention Strategy held their sixth 'Call-in.'"
South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski is seeking to bolster community relations by fostering greater interaction with the people of South Bend.
National Network Director David Kennedy recently paid a visit to partner city South Bend, Indiana as they continue to implement their group violence intervention.
"A diverse collection of local faith groups, advocacy organizations and government officials will unite next weekend to discuss one of the most challenging problems facing Michiana and communities around the country: gun violence."
A South Bend man who took part in the South Bend Group Violence Intervention (SBGVI) strategy now faces 63 months in prison on gun charges.