PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Community members in Pine Bluff brought experts to talk about a program focused on one thing – ending the violence in their city.
Group Violence Intervention, known as GVI, talked about a three-pronged approach with tools that community members could walk out with and start using.
Group involvement intervention crews from all over the United States came to Pine Bluff to speak to law enforcement, activists and community members on ways to reduce violence.
They spoke about a three-prong system that said law enforcement will identify and punish all members of the groups involved in committing crimes.
Second, community members and families come together to share with those group members the pain gun violence is causing loved ones.
The last part is providing outreach to specific needs and counseling services for those causing violence.
“Violence is fantastically concentrated amongst a very small number of extremely active groups and individuals, and at that level, it’s not random and that means we can do something,” the creator of GVI, David M Kennedy said.
“You know just seeing just recently we had several young kids get killed and just seeing that is something that it can be prevented, it’s so frustrating,” Pine Bluff community member Brenton Cole said. “I think this program can work, again like I said if utilized in the right area I do believe this can be an effective tool.”
The evidence GVI presented shows youth homicide rates decreased by 63% in Boston, Massachusetts.
There was a 32% decrease in homicides that involves groups of people in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Community members said they are tired of watching youth die in the community they love.
They said they are ready to see change and they hope this program that is working in large cities can be a solution in Pine Bluff.