NBC Nightly News Highlights GVRS Progress in New Orleans


NBC Nightly News launched a week-long series investigating gun violence in America by highlighting New Orleans’ early successes in cutting its homicide rate since adopting the National Network’s group violence reduction strategy (GVRS) as a central element of its NOLA for Life campaign. 

New Orleans last year had a per-capita murder rate three times the size of Chicago's, prompting the city to embark on a multi-prong approach aimed at unraveling the culture of violence prevalent mostly among its young African-American men. With the National Network providing technical assistance in implementing GVRS as a key component of this campaign, New Orleans saw homicides drop by half this month so far, according to NBC Nightly News.

The city’s first call-in, a face-to-face meeting with group members that is GVRS’ key communication tool, was held in October last year and was followed by a period of 18 days without a single murder—the longest such stretch in recent memory. 

GVRS focuses narrowly on those known to be driving violence and brings robust and meaningful consequences not only for the individual involved in a killing or shooting but also for the crimes anyone else in his group may be committing, producing group accountability that leads to its members policing each other. At the same time it offers outreach and support to those who want to turn their lives around. Speaking with NBC Nightly News, National Network Co-Chair David Kennedy summed up the core messages delivered in a call-in: “We know you. We know what you’re doing.  We care about you and want to help you. But we will not put up with the violence any longer.”  

In line with GVRS’ objective of strengthening the community’s moral voice in neighborhoods with high rates of violence, NOLA for Life also extends a wider safety net to at-risk youths, providing mentoring and other services that model “how life is meant to be.” 

While GVRS is still in the early stages of implementation in New Orleans, officials are hopeful the strategy is taking the city in the right direction, as has been the case in many other cities around the country.