• Custom Notifications

    Custom notifications are an innovative way to communicate quickly, tactically, and directly with particular high-risk people.

About the Innovation
Tools & Guides

Custom notifications are an innovative way to communicate quickly, tactically, and directly with particular high-risk people. Custom notifications typically take place during home or street visits conducted by a team of law enforcement and community representatives to articulate to high risk people that they are valued members of the community, give individualized information about their legal risk, and offer opportunities for help. As part of custom notifications, law enforcement partners can perform custom legal assessments, the process of reviewing offenders’ legal histories and vulnerabilities to produce information specific to them and deter further violence. Effective custom notifications can also address an offender’s personal circumstances, family history, and the like to offer possibilities for individualized support. 

Within the Group Violence Intervention, custom notifications can be used to interrupt group “beefs,” avoid retaliation after incidents, calm outbreaks of violence, and reinforce the overall antiviolence message. They are also used to communicate with high-risk people in other intervention contexts. In Chicago, the city’s Violence Reduction Strategy partners have used hundreds of custom notifications, and the U.S. Department of justice is supporting the process there.

The National Network produced Custom Notifications: Individualized Communication in the Group Violence Interventionpublished by COPS Office in 2014, to provide a practical tool for cities seeking to use custom notifications.

Custom Notifications: Individualized Communication in the Group Violence Intervention

Custom Notifications: Individualized Communication in the Group Violence Intervention provides practical information about "custom notifications," an independent element of GVI that enables quick, tactical, direct communication to particular group members.  Custom notifications articulate that group members are valued members of the community, give individualized information about their legal risk, and offer opportunities for help.  They effectively interrupt group "beefs," avoid retaliation after incidents, calm outbreaks of violence, and reinforce the GVI message.

Custom Notifications Webinar

David M. Kennedy, Director of the National Network for Safe Communities, and Chris Mallette, Executive Director of the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy, present the "custom notifications" strategy for giving individualized messages to those at highest risk of violent victimization or offending. This webinar covers the basic principles of custom notifications and offers examples and practical information from the field.

News & Updates

Baton Rouge officials ramp up custom home visits hoping to intervene in group violence

June 2018  |  The Advocate  

With the arrival of summer's notorious bloody months and the now-defunct anti-violence initiative BRAVE in the rear-view mirror, Baton Rouge's law enforcement officials are embracing a new method for violence intervention: showing up unannounced to the homes of those they believe are linked to the violence.  

These home visits, coined "custom notifications" by researchers with the National Network for Safe Communities based in New York, are set up to demonstrate to these people — on a very personal level — that law enforcement is aware of their ties to potential violence, to warn them of the consequences of such violence and to offer them support if they choose a different path, said Baton Rouge Police Deputy Chief Herbert "Tweety" Anny. 

Tags: Baton Rouge Custom Notifications Custom Notifications

Taking Aim at Gun Violence, With Personal Deterrence

April 2018  |  New York Times  

In this opinion piece for the New York Times, Tina Rosenberg highlights the NNSC's group violence prevention work across jurisdictions. 

In Pittsburgh, homicides hit a 12-year low in 2017; the mayor credited Ceasefire. Detroit’s homicide rate hit a 50-year low in 2017. Its police chief, James Craig, said in an interview that the city had started Ceasefire in two high-crime precincts in 2015 and has gradually expanded it. “I wasn’t much of a believer when I first got to Detroit,” he said. “But what we have in place now is probably one of the better-working Ceasefire models. It has had a profound impact on sustaining violent crime reduction.”

In Newburgh, statistics in a voluminous New York State report show shootings are way down (See pdf, page 1202) — from 55 victims in 2015 to 17 last year. Violent crime, especially firearm crime, has plummeted. In 2012, the year Oakland began its current version of Ceasefire, it was the third-most dangerous American city, with 126 murders. Last year it had 74. In 2017, Oakland had 277 nonfatal shootings — down from 557 in 2012.

Tags: DetroitNewburghOaklandPittsburgh Custom NotificationsSupport and Outreach Custom NotificationsSupport and Outreach

The Mean Tweets of New York: Tracking Gang Conflicts on Social Media

March 2017  |  CityLab  

The National Network's Michael Friedrich: "In New York City, at least 240 shootings and 24 murders last year began online...Add to this that New York City prosecutors have indicted over 700 young people using evidence from their social media accounts and you get a comprehensive picture of the harm done. We need solutions that don’t just respond to violence but get ahead of it."

Tags: Custom Notifications Custom Notifications

Homicides and Shootings Continue to Fall in New Haven

December 2016  |  New Haven Register  

Project Longevity in New Haven is continuing to contribute to sustained low-levels of violent crime. Daily intelligence meetings, custom notifications, and other innovations are supporting the vital work being done. 

Tags: New Haven Custom Notifications Custom Notifications

Chicago cops are using data to fight gang violence

September 2016  |  CBS Evening News  

“At the end of the day, the goal of this entire program is to save lives.”

Tags: Chicago Custom Notifications Custom Notifications

CPD’s crucial choice: Treat its list as offenders or as potential victims?

July 2016  |  Chicago Tribune  

NNSC research partner Andrew Papachristos penned a recent op-ed to discuss the methodology and motivation behind Chicago's Strategic Subject List. 

Tags: Chicago Custom NotificationsSocial Network Analysis Custom NotificationsSocial Network Analysis

Chicago should be commended for police reforms, not dissed

May 2016  |  Crain's Chicago Business  

David Kennedy makes the case that Chicago is home to important national work and innovations in criminal justice. 

Tags: Chicago Custom Notifications Custom Notifications

Rutland’s Fight Against Opiates Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

January 2016  |  Vermont Public Radio   

Project Vision in Vermont has been working to effectively address the heroin epidemic sweeping the state. The NNSC has provided informal advising to officials in Rutland, VT based on our Drug Market Intervention and have been pleased to see it being successfully mapped to the heroin crisis that is affecting Vermont and many other areas across the country. 

Tags: Custom NotificationsSupport and Outreach Custom NotificationsSupport and Outreach

Operation Go West: Chief A.C. Roper, 50-plus cops hit crime hotspots

December 2015  |  AL.com  

"Teams of Birmingham police officers, including Chief A.C. Roper, hit the streets in the western portion of the city [in December] to let both the criminals, and the residents, know they care and they are watching."

Tags: Birmingham Custom Notifications Custom Notifications

Yale Finds New Haven Deterrence Strategy Reduced Gun Violence

November 2015  |  EfficientGov  

A recent evaluation by researchers at Yale University has concluded that Project Longevity has reduced gun violence in New Haven. According the to study “even accounting for a variety of alternative explanations, the implementation of Project Longevity in New Haven was associated with a reduction of nearly [five group-member involved] shootings and homicides per month.”

Tags: New Haven Custom Notifications Custom Notifications