Bluegrass Bloodshed and Possible Solutions

Joshua Crawford of the Pegasus Institute has this op-ed on the horrific rates of shootings and homicides in Louisville, Kentucky and the city council’s reaction.

Louisville Metro Council recently took significant measures that could help save lives and stop the out-of-control bloodshed. They passed a budget with notable measures including allocating $620,000 to expand the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system, $500,000 to help with the implementation of Group Violence Intervention (GVI), and millions that can be used to increase officer pay in the hopes of improving recruitment and retention. They also admirably resisted calls from radicals to defund LMPD.

Crawford particularly notes the GVI portion of the package.

GVI recognizes that most urban violence is the result of interpersonal disputes between a small number of highly active individuals, largely within the context of gangs or street groups. According to the National Network for Safe Communities, these group members typically make up around half a percent of a city’s population but are involved in as much as 70% of its homicide and gun violence.

GVI strategies partner with community members and survivors with moral authority over group members to relay messages against violence. Law enforcement puts groups on prior notice about the consequences of further group-involved violence. Finally, support and outreach providers make a genuine offer of help for those who want it.

By leveraging both enforcement and social service resources on the most active shooters and the groups they belong to, GVI strategies have significantly reduced violence across the country.

That last point is particularly important. Law enforcement and social actions are not either/or alternatives. We can do both. Resources are always limited, of course, so we have to give all programs careful scrutiny to determine if they really work, and we must have the backbone to cancel the ones that don’t.