SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- Members from several South Bend area street groups were called to a meeting on Thursday night.
They heard from law enforcement, social service and community leaders, who called for the violence in our community to stop, offered help to those who are willing to accept it, and promised swift and certain consequences for violent offenses.
These street group members were urged to inform others of the parameters established by the Group Violence Intervention and the punishment for violating them.
Known as a “call in,” the meeting marked the next phase in the implementation of a crime-reduction strategy developed by criminologist David M. Kennedy, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and director of the National Network for Safe Communities.
Cities that have adopted this strategy have seen a 40 to 60 percent reduction in group-related homicide.
The South Bend Group Violence Intervention is a partnership among 30 community leaders from law enforcement, government, education, civil service, health-care agencies and faith-based agencies.
They are tasked with advocating direct, sustained engagement with street groups that cause the majority of gun violence. The strategy establishes clear moral standards against violence and coordinates the crime-prevention efforts of law enforcement agencies to focus on the groups most associated with gun violence.
SBGVI also draws on the expertise of social service providers and faith-based leaders to offer group members a path away from violence.
The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County raised money to fund the South Bend Group Violence Intervention’s efforts. Supporters include Memorial Hospital, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, the University of Notre Dame and the Community Foundation and its African American Community Fund.
Representatives of the South Bend Group Violence Intervention will discuss the initiative’s first “call in” at a press conference at 10 am Friday, May 16 at the Charles Martin Youth Center, 802 Lincoln Way West.