Strategies for Change
“Social services cannot [reduce violence] alone. Community members cannot fight that battle alone…nor do I think police can. I think that we’ve got to work together.”
Reygan Harmon, Ceasefire Program
Director, Oakland Police Department
The Group Violence Intervention (GVI) reduces homicide and gun violence, minimizes harm to communities by replacing enforcement with deterrence, and fosters stronger relationships between law enforcement and the people they serve. National Network Executive Director David Kennedy and colleagues pioneered GVI’s evidence-based strategies with “Operation Ceasefire” in Boston during the 1990s. Subsequent GVI implementations across dozens of challenging cities, including Oakland, Chicago, Detroit, and New Orleans, have repeatedly demonstrated that violence can be dramatically reduced when community members join together with law enforcement and social service providers to focus a three-pronged antiviolence message on highly active street groups.
The GVI messages are simple: Community members with moral authority over group members deliver a credible moral message against violence. Law enforcement puts groups on prior notice about the consequences of further group-involved violence for the group as a whole. And support and outreach providers make 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.
“I think the most important thing about the National Network and the focused deterrence strategy is that it’s a very powerful blend of a lot of the best of what we know about criminal justice today.”
Thomas Abt, Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer, Harvard University
When these three elements are in place, and partners across community, law enforcement, and support and outreach providers can work together, GVI fosters internal social pressure within groups that deters violence, elevates clear community standards against violence, offers group members an “honorable exit” from committing acts of violence, provides a supported path for those who want to change, and reserves strategic, group-based sanctions only for situations where group-involved serious violence persists.
How GVI works
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.
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.
This whitepaper is a high-level overview of street outreach and the role it plays in violence intervention work. The paper assesses existing social science literature that evaluates the efficacy of streetwork interventions and contextualizes streetwork among other components of the NNSC's Group Violence Intervention.
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.
Working with nnsc on gvi
In Pursuit of Peace: Building Police-Community Trust to Break the Cycle of Violence focuses on the importance of community trust in just and effective policing—and the deleterious and self-perpetuating cycles of violence that result when communities are both over-policed and under-protected.
Oakland, considered for many years to be among the most dangerous cities in America, has cut its annual shootings and homicides nearly in half since 2012. Now, city leaders and activists from around the country are traveling to Oakland to learn from this remarkable success. Oakland gives us reason to hope that reducing gun violence in our most impacted communities is possible, and a basic framework for how to get there.
In the News
West Palm Beach Police Chief Frank Adderley stressed that it’s a small group of people to blame for the majority of the city’s killings. That’s
Philadelphia Group Violence Intervention: Partnering with Community and Law Enforcement to Stop the Shooting
No one should have to live under the threat of gun violence, but tragically more than 1,000 people have been shot and more than 250
“In practical terms, I think every city that’s grappling with this question is trying to figure out how to continue to produce public safety in