Davenport Police use new strategy to stop gun crime cycles

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – Davenport police are changing the way the department responds to gun crime, using a community strategy called Group Violence Intervention.

The department hopes this approach will end cycles of violence by repeat offenders and reduce gun crime rates in the city.

“It’s an evidence-based strategy that aims to reduce gun violence by focusing on those most at risk of violent victimization or offense and delivering a credible message to them that we want to see them safe alive. and out of jail, that violence is will not be tolerated in our community,” said Sarah Ott, Chief Strategy Officer of Davenport.

“We are here to help them, but if the violence continues, there will be consequences. Ultimately, GVI is about law enforcement and our communities standing and acting together to reduce gun crime in our community.

GVI is based on data from Boston, Davenport Police Chief Jeff Bladel said.

“The Boston Ceasefire started this process or program in the early 1990s and it has continued. It was replicated in a number of different cities,” he said.

Why use a new approach to armed violence? Data collected by TV6 Investigated showed Davenport hit a record high of 282 confirmed shooting incidents in 2020.

“Our officers have the ability to investigate,” Bladel said. “We have the ability to stop. We have the ability to make strong cases and prosecute, but that wasn’t slowing down or slowing down – gun violence. So you get to that point where you continue the cycle of violence.

In 2021, city data saw 207 confirmed shooting incidents. As of August 1, Davenport had had 110 confirmed shooting incidents. Data collected from Davenport Police shows that 0.18% of the population is associated with approximately 50-60% of recent homicides and non-fatal shootings.

Davenport Police say data shows that those who act violently in Davenport are on average 23 years old, 92% are male, and that gun crimes disproportionately affect black residents.

“So we know that if we can strategically reach less than two-tenths of a percent of individuals, we can potentially reduce gun crime in our community by 60 percent,” Ott said.

The intervention in cases of group violence begins with the identification of high-risk perpetrators. According to police, 0.18% of Davenport’s most frequent and violent offenders were identified by police from homicide and shooting data in recent years.

“Once they’re identified as high risk, it’s a community effort,” Bladel said. “It’s your law enforcement, it’s your service providers and it’s your community going out there and having a direct conversation with our people most at risk.”

These conversations are what the police and the city call “personalized notifications”.

“It basically gives them a message of ‘we’re here to help,'” Bladel said. “We are here to help you and understand how we can get you out of this life. If you continue on the path you are on, you are going to be shot or in jail. There are no other ways. »

“A lot of times it happens in their neighborhoods, in their homes. We went knocking on their door at 8 a.m. to have these conversations,” Ott added.

Personalized notifications are made with trained community members like Dwayne Hodges, a resident of Davenport who has said he is concerned and tired of gun violence in the city.

“I, as a member of the community and a concerned citizen, am someone who probably knows your mother or knows your father or knows someone who knows you, and I go out as a member of the community to make them know that I’m worried. I want to keep them safe, I want to keep them alive. I want to keep them out of jail,” Hodges said.

For Dwayne, GVI’s strategy is personal.

“I have a story. I was in trouble when I was young. I had problems as an adult but I changed my life and I tell them about it. I was the victim of violence, I changed my life and I did not seek revenge. That’s a lot of what we do with it. We want them not to come out and seek revenge for something that was out of their control,” Hodges said, “We recently spoke to a youngster who was shot and he was actively caring for his wounds after being shot. It was very enlightening to talk to him because he just had a lot to say about being right there. It’s not even a person who does something like that. He was in the car and was hit.

Community members like Dwayne join law enforcement to show they care about the safety of residents and to diffuse the situation if the person becomes hostile during a personalized notification.

“Our police department can say until they’re blue in the face, ‘put your guns down,’ but often it’s not until someone close to that individual says the same thing that that message really resonates” , Ott said.

“We come in there saying, ‘Listen, we’re concerned about what’s going on with you, we want to help you, we want to be able to give you the help you need to change your life,'” Hodges said. .

After identification and notification of the person, a real offer of help from local social services is offered. The services offer them resources to stabilize their lives. DeAmbuir Carter coordinates these services.

“In that aspect, I’m helping the community and also helping someone save themselves if that’s what they choose to do,” Carter said.

One of the social services involved in GVI is Family resources in Davenport.

“Whenever the client presents with a need, we will ensure that if we do not provide that service, we provide an appropriate referral to an organization that provides that service,” Tee LeShoure, Homicide and Violent Crimes Supervisor with Family Resources, says. “We want you to know and we want the community to know that we are here to support you. We are authentic in our actions and initiatives.

So far, those involved with GVI say they have seen positive results.

“Not a single person came [been arrested] with law enforcement that we have notified by custom,” Carter said.

GVI does not change the consequences if the individual continues to cause violence.

“If you make this terrible decision to put this gun in your hand and shoot someone who visits you and we’re looking for you, we’re going to arrest you and we’re going to prosecute you,” Mayor Mike Matson said. “I hope I don’t have to say it very often because this approach along with the other approaches and other techniques that are used will help reduce that effort.”

Police hope GVI will stop cycles of rapid gunfire in Davenport and create a safer city with law enforcement, social services and the community standing up and acting together.

“It gives us an opportunity as law enforcement officers to help infuse prevention methods to help perhaps stop shootings before they happen,” Bladel said. .

“All Davenport residents deserve to feel safe in their homes, they deserve to feel safe in their communities,” Ott said. “And that’s what GVI hopes to deliver.”

If you would like to become a trained member of the GVI community, email [email protected]

About admin

Check Also

The Delaware airport can receive planes carrying migrants. What we know

Martha’s Vineyard immigrant thefts investigated A Texas sheriff on Monday opened an investigation into two …