[vc_row][vc_column][trx_title style=”underline”]Objective B5: Focused Deterrence[/trx_title][vc_tta_pageable no_fill_content_area=”1″ active_section=”1″ pagination_color=”black”][vc_tta_section title=”Section 1″ tab_id=”1571871988885-d5141fd4-dd8c”][vc_column_text]Right now, Memphis has a gun problem and a gang problem. According to data compiled by Project Safe Neighborhoods (psn), a law enforcement initiative designed to curb gun violence, Memphis experienced an increase of 11.4% in total crimes involving firearms since last year. 40 Many of these gun crimes are perpetrated in connection with gang activity or by gang members. Reducing gun and gang violence requires concentrated effort.

Pioneered as “Operation Ceasefire” in Boston during the 1990s, these “group violence intervention/focused deterrence” strategies have acquired a strong formal evaluation record.41 When implemented correctly, they have repeatedly demonstrated that gun violence can be dramatically reduced “when a partnership of community members, law enforcement, and social service providers directly engages with the small and active number of people involved in street gangs and clearly communicates a credible moral message against violence, prior notice about the consequences of further violence, and a genuine offer of help for those who want it.”42 The GVI approach reflects a public health sensibility to solving chronic community violence issues. Public health models involve: “(a) a focus on prevention, (b) a focus on scientific methodology to identify risks and patterns, and (c) multidisciplinary collaboration to address the issue(s).”43 As a recent example, after identifying the most violent gangs responsible for New Haven’s surge in shootings, the city’s police conducted a series of call-ins to issue warnings to gang members while offering help with housing, drug counseling, and job training. In the program’s first three years, based on this “carrot and stick” approach, the city saw monthly shootings drop, on average, nearly 73%.

The GVI initiative is similar to one employed in New York City. These models involve not just the gang member, but seek to address family needs that might impact an individual’s decision to be involved in a gang in the first place. Understanding the various reasons why youths join gangs is critical and helps inform the possible remedies for individuals. Additionally, law enforcement may reach out to adult gang members in an effort to convince them to release a youth from the gang. The Memphis Shelby County Multi-Agency Gang Unit, including District Attorney, U.S. Attorney, Memphis Police Department and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, will join with community groups to implement, track, and measure the effects of GVI across Shelby County.

Key Objective Outcomes:

  1. Reduce youth (ages z4 and under) homicides (perpetrators and victims) by at least 30% by 2021.
  2. Reduce aggravated assaults involving firearms by at least 30% by 2021.
  3. Reduce calls for service for shots fired by at least 30% by 2021.

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