Community Violence Intervention | COPS OFFICE (2024)

In May 2021, the Department of Justice announced a Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime. As part of that effort, the COPS Office participates in the Violent Crime Reduction Steering Committee, a cross-component working group that seeks to work both within the Department and with interagency partners to “discuss initiatives and potential joint efforts to reduce violent crime.” The COPS Office will also target its grant funds to projects that directly engage with these issues, partnering with law enforcement agencies, academia, and the non-profit sector to develop new strategies and approaches to community violence intervention (CVI) and violence reduction. COPS will also leverage existing resources, such as research and publications examining violence reduction efforts and their effectiveness, training opportunities and grants, and technical assistance delivered through CRI-TAC. Other components, including the Office of Justice Programs, are also focusing efforts and funding on community violence intervention programs.

One of the core principles of the Department’s strategy for reducing violent crime—in addition to fostering trust and having legitimacy in the communities we serve, setting strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results of our efforts—is investing in community-based prevention and intervention programs. In recent years, community organizations have developed innovative approaches to intervening in the lives of those at the highest risk of engaging in or becoming victims of violence. Experience and research have shown, moreover, that prevention and intervention can be highly effective complements to the strategic enforcement of criminal laws. Although these kinds of programs are almost always best coordinated by local community and government partners, the Department can play a significant role in supporting them through grant funding, training, and technical assistance. We can also share our enforcement experience to help inform prevention and intervention approaches. These are important investments that will promote public safety in communities across the country.

Piloting Innovative Community Violence Intervention Strategies

In June 2021, President Biden announced that the Administration would convene and support a CVI Collaborative of more than a dozen jurisdictions that are committing to use a portion of their American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding or other public funding to increase investment in CVI, including to anticipate and respond to the potential rise in violence this summer. The Administration will convene meetings with officials from these communities, facilitate peer-to-peer learning, and provide technical assistance.

As part of its focus on violence reduction across the nation, the Department of Justice, including the COPS Office, will support the efforts in these jurisdictions through training and technical assistance and grantmaking. The work with those particular jurisdictions is part of the broader work that the COPS Office has undertaken and will continue to undertake in its focus on violence reduction.

These cities include:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Baton Rouge, LA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Detroit, MI
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Memphis, TN
  • Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN
  • Newark, NJ
  • Rapid City, SD
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Washington, DC

Leveraging Existing COPS Grant Programs

Community Policing Development (CPD) Microgrants

DOJ included CVI as a topic area in its FY21 Community Policing Development (CPD) Microgrants, a $3 million program that supports innovative community policing strategies. The solicitation was opened on May 20, 2021 and closed on July 8, 2021. Awards will be made by September 30, 2021.

COPS Hiring Program (CHP)

DOJ made CVI a priority focus area in its FY21 COPS Hiring Program (CHP), a $156 million competitive grant program that funds entry-level law enforcement officers. Law enforcement agencies that partner with community organizations to implement community violence intervention strategies will receive preference points in the scoring of applications. The solicitation was opened on May 7, 2021 and closed on June 22, 2021. Awards will be made by September 30, 2021.

School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP)

DOJ supported CVI in its FY21 School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP), a $53 million competitive grant program that funds equipment, technology, and training to address school violence. Applicants that have experienced high rates of gun violence will receive priority, with an emphasis on wraparound services for students most likely to engage in or be victimized by gun violence. The solicitation was opened on May 7, 2021 and closed on June 22, 2021. Awards will be made by September 30, 2021.

Webinars

As part of the Administration’s efforts to support communities seeking to implement or expand CVI efforts, subject matter experts will present on CVI-related topics in a series of webinars. This webinar series, convened by the White House Domestic Policy Council, is a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of Education.

Part 1: Evidence-based Theory and Research on CVI – Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The first webinar, “Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Webinar Series Part 1: Evidence-based Theory and Research on CVI” took place on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET. In this webinar, presenters discussed immediate steps communities can take to reduce community violence as well as the social determinants of health (e.g., norms, policies) that can lead to inequities in violence. Within this framework, presenters defined CVI, including the theory and research behind specific CVI models such as street outreach, violence interrupters, group violence interventions, and hospital-based interventions, as well as the role of the community and law enforcement within CVI.

Part 2: Place-based Approaches to CVI - Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The second webinar, “Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Webinar Series Part 2: Place-based Approaches to CVI,” took place on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 at 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET. During this webinar, presenters discussed CVI efforts in the context of a place-based approach. Framed in the social ecological model, place-based approaches can reduce and prevent community violence and crime by enhancing and maintaining the physical characteristics of settings where people come together in order to foster social interaction, strengthen connectedness, and increase collective efficacy (e.g., shared trust among residents and willingness to intervene). Presenters highlighted the importance of community engagement within place-based approaches and discussed how incorporating community revitalization efforts, such as increasing green spaces and addressing how abandoned buildings can reduce and prevent community violence.

Part 3: CVI In Practice - Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The third webinar, “Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Webinar Series Part 3: CVI in Practice” took place on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET. During this webinar, leading CVI experts shared their on-the-ground experiences on how to implement CVI strategies within communities. This conversational panel featured Anthony Smith from Cities United, Fatimah Loren Dreier from the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention (HAVI), Anne Marks from Youth ALIVE!, and Ray Winans from Detroit Live. They shared insights on what communities can consider in order to effectively implement and sustain CVI efforts.

Part 4: Community-Centered Evaluation - Thursday, September 16, 2021

The fourth webinar, “Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Webinar Series Part 4: Community-Centered Evaluation” took place on Thursday, September 16, 2021 at 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET. During this webinar, leading experts in program evaluation discussed partnerships and evaluation, including process and outcome evaluations, and ways to partner with community members in order to understand whether CVIs are working to reduce violence. In particular, the webinar covered the benefits of community-based participatory research, a community-centered strategy that involves partnering with a researcher in an iterative process of program development and improvement. The webinar also included information about a wide range of resources for practitioners interested in conducting community-centered evaluations.

COPS CVI Publications and Resources

The COPS Office website hosts numerous resources and deliverables on a wide variety of public safety topics. These include several deliverables related to CVI efforts:

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Custom Notifications: Individualized Communication in the Group Violence Intervention
The National Network for Safe Communities' Group Violence Intervention (GVI) has repeatedly demonstrated that serious violence can be reduced when law enforcement, community members, and social service providers join together to engage directly with violent street groups and clearly communicate (1) a credible, moral message against violence; (2) a credible law enforcement message about the group consequences of further violence; and (3) a genuine offer of help for those who want it. 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. This publication presents the custom notification process, explains its value within the broader strategy, details its use by several national practitioners, and encourages further development. This publication is part of an ongoing series by the National Network for Safe Communities about its two core crime reduction strategies: Group Violence Intervention and Drug Market Intervention.

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Group Violence Intervention: An Implementation Guide
The National Network for Safe Communities' Group Violence Intervention (GVI) has repeatedly demonstrated that serious violence can be reduced when law enforcement, community members, and social service providers join together to engage directly with violent street groups and clearly communicate (1) a credible, moral message against violence; (2) a credible law enforcement message about the group consequences of further violence; and (3) a genuine offer of help for those who want it. This publication provides comprehensive guidance on how to implement GVI step by step, discussing the role and responsibilities of the core representatives in law enforcement, the community, and social services. It explains the logic and basics of the strategy before taking the reader through the initial planning stages, design, and execution of all key strategy elements, such as problem analysis and the call-in. This guide also includes methods to maintain program integrity and ensure sustainability in the long-term. This publication is part of a series by the National Network for Safe Communities about its two crime reduction strategies: Group Violence Intervention and Drug Market Intervention.

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Managing the Group Violence Intervention: Using Shooting Scorecards to Track Group Violence
Group shooting scorecards identify the criminal groups that commit the highest number shootings and experience the greatest number of shooting victimizations during a specific time period. With this information, shooting scorecards support the implementation of focused deterrence strategies to prevent group-involved violence. They also ensure that police departments appropriately focus scarce resources on the groups that consistently generate the most gun violence. The most violent groups then receive systematic considered for focused interventions, such as the National Network for Safe Communities' Group Violence Intervention in which a partnership of community members, law enforcement, and social service providers delivers a "no violence" message, information about legal consequences for further violence, and an offer of help. Managing the Group Violence Intervention: Using Shooting Scorecards to Track Group Violence 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. This publication is part of a series by the National Network for Safe Communities about its two crime reduction strategies: the Group Violence Intervention and the Drug Market Intervention.

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Group Violence Reduction Strategy: 4 Case Studies of Swift and Meaningful Law Enforcement Responses
The National Network for Safe Communities' Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS), also known as "Operation Ceasefire," has repeatedly demonstrated that serious violence can be dramatically reduced when law enforcement, community members, and social services providers join together to directly engage with violent street groups to clearly communicate (1) a law enforcement message that future violence will be met with clear and predictable consequences, (2) a community moral message that violence will no longer be tolerated, and (3) a genuine offer of help to those who want it. The strategy's central tool to communicate these messages is a call-in a face-to-face meeting between GVRS representatives and street group members. Practice Brief: Call-In Preparation and Execution is intended to help law enforcement, community, and social services partners already engaged in implementing GVRS to design, prepare, and execute their first and subsequent call-ins.

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Policing the Connected World: Using Social Network Analysis in Police-Community Partnerships
Law enforcement agencies are increasingly using social network analysis (SNA) to understand the organization of gangs and other criminal networks, to identify their relationships, and to analyze data that can be used to focus crime prevention efforts. This report details the implementation of a SNA program developed by the COPS Office in partnership with Yale University. Created as part of a violence prevention initiative in New Haven, Connecticut, the Project Longevity SNA program emphasizes the value of community collaboration when gathering critical information such as the location and membership of these groups. Noting that transparency and community involvement in data collection encourage community support, the report also describes the benefits of focused deterrence activities, thereby reducing arrests and increasing efficiency. In addition to a detailed introduction to SNA and the ways it can be adapted to community and law enforcement needs, this report provides examples of SNA strategies used in other cities and practical guidelines for implementation.

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Practice Brief: Call-in Preparation and Execution
The National Network for Safe Communities' Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS), also known as Operation Ceasefire, has repeatedly demonstrated that serious violence can be dramatically reduced when law enforcement, community members, and social services providers join together to directly engage with violent street groups to clearly communicate (1) a law enforcement message that future violence will be met with clear and predictable consequences, (2) a community moral message that violence will no longer be tolerated, and (3) a genuine offer of help to those who want it. The strategy's central tool to communicate these messages is a call in, a face to face meeting between GVRS representatives and street group members. Practice Brief: Call-In Preparation and Execution is intended to help law enforcement, community, and social services partners already engaged in implementing GVRS to design, prepare, and execute their first and subsequent call-ins.

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A Review of Minneapolis's Youth Violence Prevention Initiative
This publication, from the National Center for Victims of Crime, describes an initiative started in 2006 by the city of Minneapolis to prevent and reduce violence by and against youth. To document the program and highlight its law enforcement innovations, NCVC staff visited Minneapolis in October of 2008, conducting a series of interviews with Minneapolis and Hennepin County officials, community leaders, and law enforcement officers.

CVI Efforts Focused on Youth

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An Interdisciplinary Approach to Addressing Violence: A Process Evaluation of the Minority Youth Violence Prevention Initiative
Violence continues to plague minority communities across the United States, which has implications not only for public safety but also for public health. The Minority Youth Violence Prevention Initiative seeks to engage public health organizations, law enforcement agencies, schools, juvenile justice agencies, and community-based groups to curb violence and reduce disparities in access to public health.

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Preventing Minority Youth Violence: Fact Sheet Template
This resource provides guidance in preparation of fact sheets for the benefit of stakeholders. The full toolkit is available at .

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Preventing Minority Youth Violence: SARA Model Worksheet
This worksheet exercise tracks the key elements of the SARA (scanning, analysis, response, and assessment) model problem solving method. This is a framework used by community policing agencies to identify and solve repeat crime and community problems. The worksheet can help aid in planning a minority youth violence prevention program. The full toolkit is available at .

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Preventing Minority Youth Violence: CDC Model Worksheet
This worksheet exercise tracks the key elements of the CDC's model for a public health approach to violence prevention. The worksheet can help aid in planning a minority youth violence prevention program. The full toolkit is available at .

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Preventing Minority Youth Violence: Sample Project Logic Model
This basic sample logic model lays out what resources are available at the beginning of a project, what activities can be undertaken with those resources, and what outcomes can be expected from those activities. The full toolkit is available at .

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Preventing Minority Youth Violence: Lessons from Law Enforcement—Public Health Collaborations
The Minority Youth Violence Prevention Initiative seeks to engage public health organizations, law enforcement agencies, schools, juvenile justice agencies, and community-based groups to curb violence in minority communities across the United States and reduce disparities in access to public health. In conjunction with a COPS Office-funded report that identified challenges and lessons learned at nine sites funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Court Innovation has prepared this toolkit to help organizations design and implement youth violence prevention programs of their own.

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Preventing Minority Youth Violence: Target Population, Eligibility, Screens, and Assessments Worksheet
This worksheet exercise is to help you prepare to identify your program's target population, eligibility requirements, and assessment processes. The full toolkit is available at .

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Combatting Youth Violence in American Cities: Programs and Partnerships in 30 Cities
Youth violence is a major challenge for American police chiefs, schools, and municipal leaders, undermining the public safety of cities across the nation and destroying the lives of many of our young people. In an effort to stem the toll youth violence is taking on our communities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors asked the leaders of 30 cities for help in developing a report which can be used as a tool to prevent and respond to these crimes. This report, the result of their efforts, describes the problems they have encountered and the practices and programs they have found most helpful.

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Combatting Youth Violence in American Cities: Programs and Partnerships in 30 Cities
While gun violence among young offenders seems to pervade our society, it is remarkably clustered among high-risk people, in high-risk places, at high-risk times. This concentration of violence provides an important opportunity for police to strategically address a seemingly intractable problem. This guide identifies a series of questions to help law enforcement analyze their local problem and reviews responses to the problem and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice.

Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC)

Community Violence Intervention | COPS OFFICE (17)

The COPS Office technical assistance program, Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC), serve as the primary vehicle for timely and direct request-and-deliver assistance to law enforcement agencies in need of consultation, narrowly scope policy and practice reviews, and training. More than 30 topics are covered by a consortium of national-level law enforcement stakeholder associations, subject matter experts, and training providers. As directed by COPS Office leadership, any topic area can be covered through CRI-TAC including those to assist local law enforcement agencies with implementing Community Violence Intervention efforts and initiatives. To date, the COPS Office has received over 500 inquiries for technical assistance and has completed over 350 engagements with local law enforcement agencies.

Community Violence Intervention | COPS OFFICE (2024)

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