• 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.


Hot People, Hot Places: Two Frameworks for Modern Strategic Crime Control

This PowerPoint presentation was developed by David Kennedy for the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives 2016 William R. Bracey Symposium in Hollywood, FL on February 12, 2015.



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

Corsaro, N., & Engel, R. S. (2015). Most Challenging of Contexts: Assessing the Impact of Focused Deterrence on Serious Violence in New OrleansCriminology & Public Policy, 14(3). DOI:10.1111/1745-9133.12142.

Kennedy, D.M. (2008). Deterrence and Crime Prevention: Reconsidering the Prospect of Sanction. NY: Routledge.

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., & Kirk, D. S. (2015). Changing the Street Dynamic: Evaluating Chicago’s Group Violence Reduction StrategyCriminology & Public Policy, 14(3). DOI:10.1111/1745-9133.12142.

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


32%

decrease in group member-involved homicides

New Orleans

32%

reduction in victimization among factions represented at call-ins

Chicago

63%

reduction in youth homicide

Boston

23%

reduction in overall shooting behavior among factions represented at call-ins

Chicago

27%

reduction in shootings among notified violent groups

Boston

44%

reduction in gun assaults through Project Safe Neighborhooods

Lowell

34%

reduction in homicide

Indianapolis

41%

reduction in group member-involved homicide

Cincinnati

36.4%

reduction in gang-involved shootings among gangs treated with crackdowns

Boston

42%

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

Stockton

News & Updates

Chattanooga holds first VRI call-in since Mayor announces Roddy as Chief

August 2017  |  WRCB-TV  

Chattanooga held its 11th call-in since the Violence Reduction Initiative began in 2014 and the first since Mayor Andy Berke named Deputy Chief David Roddy Chattanooga’s top cop. Along with Chief Roddy, the meeting's speakers included Public Safety Coordinator Troy Rogers, a federal prosecutor, an attorney with the DA’s office, a former gang member, and a mother who's lost a son to gang violence almost two years ago.

Tags: Chattanooga Group Violence Intervention

Kalamazoo holds first GVI call-in

August 2017  |  MLive  

Kalamazoo's GVI implementation involves a broad-based partnership that includes the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Michigan Department of Corrections Probation and Parole, Goodwill Industries of Southwest Michigan, the Northside Ministerial Alliance, and the Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy & Action in the Community.

Tags: Kalamazoo Group Violence Intervention

Birmingham Chief A.C. Roper: Regardless of Income or Status Our Citizens Deserve to Be Safe

July 2017  |  The Birmingham Times  

Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper: "Although it takes time, [our violence reduction] is starting to see positive results. For example, in this segment of our population, homicides are down 33 percent and non- fatal shootings are down 60 percent for the first half of this year."

Tags: Birmingham Group Violence Intervention

Top Chicago prosecutor ‘stunned’ at how few gun cases brought to trial yield convictions

July 2017  |  Chicago Tribune  

According to Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, about 80 percent of those charged with gun crimes in 2016 pleaded guilty, with the remainder of the cases going to trial. Only about 30 percent of the defendants whose cases were decided by a judge in a bench trial were convicted, while juries convicted about 42 percent of the gun crime suspects whose cases were brought before them, Foxx told the editorial board.

"It's an embarrassing number," Foxx said.

Tags: Chicago Group Violence Intervention

Next Minneapolis police chief has deep community roots

July 2017  |  ABC News  

Acting Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Chief Medaria Arradondo, who is taking over for recently resigned Chief Janee Harteau, has been on the force for 28 years, and has been instrumental in MPD's work with the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice.

Tags: Minneapolis Group Violence Intervention

New Wilmington police chief pledges to build trust in community

July 2017  |  The News Journal  

New Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy believes that "every officer should function as a community police officer." He also plans, with guidance from NNSC Director David Kennedy, to implement a violence reduction strategy that draws from the concepts behind the Group Violence Intervention.

Tags: Group Violence Intervention

York needs follow-through after impressive GVI launch

July 2017  |  York Dispatch  

York City is off to a good start with its new Group Violence Intervention initiative. So says the national advisor for the organization that created the program on which it’s based, who notes the local stakeholders have “gone beyond lip service.”

"There are a couple pieces (to the initiative) that cities can get right — right out of the gate — that are really important," said Louisa Aviles, associate director of the National Network for Safe Communities' group-violence portfolio. "Some cities nail them, and other cities take longer to get them in place."

Tags: York Group Violence Intervention Support and Outreach

Community Activist Pushes Immediate Action To Stem Violence In Bridgeport

July 2017  |  Bridgeport Daily Voice  

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim and Police Chief AJ Perez have pledged to re-emphasize Project Longevity, Connecticut's statewide implementation of the Group Violence Intervention. 

Tags: Bridgeport Group Violence Intervention

The Cost Of Jobs: Officials say jobs are key to reducing violence, but [...]

July 2017  |  WBEZ  

To tamp down Chicago’s gun violence, officials are trying things such as more youth mentoring and more cops. They are also talking about another approach: getting shooters employed.

“The best anti-crime program is a job,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said last fall in a heavily hyped speech about the city’s violence. “It’s that simple.”

Tags: Chicago Group Violence Intervention Support and Outreach

In New Orleans’ mayor’s complicated legacy on crime, NOLA for Life is a bright spot

July 2017  |  The New Orleans Advocate  

During the early years of NOLA for Life, the number of homicides in New Orleans declined to its lowest rate since 1971. Since then, however, violence has steadily increased.

Tags: New Orleans Group Violence Intervention



Call-In Success

“While I was the Chief of Police in New Orleans we had over 150 young men come to the call-ins. Every single call-in I think we reached somebody.”

– Ronal Serpas, Former Superintendent, New Orleans Police Department


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Implementation