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Group Violence Reduction Program

DENVER, CO – Thursday, March 5, 2015 –  Denver’s Police Department, Department of Public Safety, District Attorney’s Office, City Attorney’s Office, United States Attorney’s Office, Departments of Probation, State Department of Correction’s Parole Division and community partners announce a program to reduce group violence in Denver. Group Violence Intervention (GVI), similar to the previous Cease Fire program, identifies groups who are committing violent crimes and provides both services and consequences to those involved.

On Wednesday, March 4, 2015, these individuals were called to a meeting with law enforcement, prosecution, community stakeholders, and faith based members.  At this meeting, they received a three pronged message about the program; community concern, available resources, and law enforcement involvement.

The primary goal of this effort is to connect people with resources. After hearing stories from loved ones about what gang violence does to families and stories of recovered former members, attendees were provided with a number to the Department of Safety’s Gang Reduction Initiative resource office where they can receive job information, mental health and substance abuse services, help with housing, and other assistance they may need.

The goal of the law enforcement component of the program is to create a group dynamic for self-control.  Members were clearly informed that if a violent crime is committed, law enforcement and city partners will bring their full resources and attention on them and their known associates and they will face the consequences of any illegal activity. The pledge by committed law enforcement partners is to use every legal tool available to address continued criminality.

Under GVI, a group of stakeholders from law enforcement and prosecution agencies conducted in-depth research and analysis to identify individuals and groups who are committing violent crimes in Denver. It is important to recognize that all gangs are groups, but not all groups are gangs.  Although there are self-identified gangs in the metro area, not all violent group activity is connected to an identified gang. GVI identifies core groups responsible for violence and related crimes regardless of gang affiliation or identification.

The initial rollout of GVI is in Denver Police District Two. After its initial implementation in District Two, the GVI program will expand citywide.

The Gang Reduction Initiative of Denver (GRID) GVI project is one of many law enforcement strategies devised to address gang and gun crime, and is a key component of the US Department of Justice Project Safe Neighborhood Grant awarded to Denver in 2014.   Additional components of this grant combine technology-based strategies including ShotSpotter and the use of National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) technology through the Crime Gun Intelligence Center.

NIBIN is a law enforcement tool used to identify, investigate and prosecute gun crime “shooters,” through ballistics imaging.

ShotSpotter technology detects and locates gunfire within the city. The system uses a network of acoustic sensors to detect when a gun is fired and then precisely and quickly pinpoints the location of the gunfire.  In less than a minute, officers and 911 dispatchers are notified of gunfire incidents, which help speed police response. This system has the potential to save lives, increase weapons-related arrests, and enhance the safety of Denver neighborhoods.

In addition to the Project Safe Neighborhood Grant, Denver’s Department of Public Safety has also received a Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention grant for the Gang Reduction Intervention of Denver (GRID). This grant provides funding for 24 programs that address gang violence, GVI being one of the twenty-four. GRID’s goal is to reduce violent gang crime and increase positive behavior change in those receiving services through prevention, intervention and enforcement.