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Metro Council gets update on a new approach to curbing Louisville’s rising violence | News

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Louisville Metro Council members got an update on one of the new approaches being used to curb violence in the city.

Wednesday afternoon, members of Metro Council’s Public Safety Committee received a report about Group Violence Intervention (GVI).

Last year, Mayor Greg Fischer and former United States Attorney Russell Coleman joined community leaders, Louisville Metro Police and Metro Council to announce the new approach to violence prevention

The multi-step program works by directly engaging those most intimately involved in and affected by violence.

“So, if you look at today’s shooter, 10 times out of 10 times, they were yesterday’s victim. You see where I am going? It’s usually the same unfortunate profile,” explained Paul David Smith, director of Reconciliation at the National Network for Safe Communities, an action research center based at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Smith is helping the city implement GVI and gave the Public Safety Committee some of the details of the program.

Although the model works by targeting people on both sides of the violence, Smith said it is not about locking people up. In fact, Smith said, “The mission is to keep people safe, alive and out of prison.”

The program includes law enforcement, civilians and even utilizes former inmates to reach people in the danger zone. As Smith told council members, some of the conversations are very direct.

“You’ll have a person who was a formerly incarcerated, someone who’s been there, done that, turned their lives around and is able to say, you don’t want to go through what I’ve been through.

“You cannot do ten years standing on your head while you’re in prison. Nobody’s going to come see you and put money on your books except your momma,” Smith said. “And if your momma dies while you’re away, you’re not getting out to go see her. Do not go down this path? Stop your violence.” 

Smith said GVI officially started earlier this year when the first custom notification was made.

“The Louisville partnership has done close to 50 custom notifications and close to 50 community and police responses to victims of violence,” he said. “And of those individuals and groups that are represented, of the individuals who have received the messaging, one has been involved in violence again, post message and that was as a victim.” 

Smith said the program has helped reduce violence in other cities and feels confident it will do the same in Metro Louisville. He says to succeed, it will take people working together to share the message and get the job done.

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