Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $900,000)
The Ramsey County Violence Reduction Initiative will address and reduce violence (particularly shootings, homicides, and carjackings) throughout Ramsey County, Minnesota. It will also improve outcomes for people at highest risk of violence and strengthen relationships between law enforcement and community. The initiative will accomplish this through locally designed and led implementation of an evidence-based focused deterrence strategy known as Group Violence Intervention (GVI). GVI has been used throughout the country and has been shown to reduce homicide and gun violence. This will be the first known GVI initiative to also focus specifically on carjackings.
Through GVI, a partnership of law enforcement, community members, and social service providers directly engages the small and active number of people involved in violence and delivers a credible moral message against violence, prior notice about the consequences of further violence, and a genuine and supported offer of help for those who want it. GVI minimizes harm to communities by replacing enforcement with deterrence and fosters stronger relationships between law enforcement and the people they serve.
According to the National Network for Safe Communities:
GVI focuses on the groups at highest risk for violent victimization and offending, with the intention to keep those in them alive, safe, and out of prison. The GVI partnership communicates directly with group members, conveying a powerful community message about disapproval for violence and in support of community aspirations; concrete opportunities for both immediate and longer-term assistance and support; and clear prior notice of the legal risks associated with continued violence. The partnership then delivers swiftly on these commitments.
The strategy arises from a desire to build communities’ capacity to prevent violence, use enforcement narrowly and strategically, help the most vulnerable people, and improve the legitimacy of police in the eyes of the community. Over 20 years of implementation in dozens of cities, this approach has consistently reduced serious violence.
The Initiative will be led by a governing board that will include elected officials from participating jurisdictions, principals from law enforcement, support and outreach entities, and community “moral voice” representatives. A full-time project manager will coordinate the multi-agency multi-jurisdictional activities of the initiative. The National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College will provide robust technical assistance.
The reduction of violent crimes will benefit everyone who lives, works, and plays in Ramsey County. The greatest direct impact will be for people in under-resourced communities who are disproportionately experiencing this violence.