Ways to Reduce Group and Gang Violence

Updated January 18, 2022

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Ways to Reduce Group and Gang Violence essay

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Gang Violence in America is increasing everyday and more and more people are becoming a member of gangs and they are poisoning society with violence and fear. There have been many gang violence reduction programs that have been designed to target certain gangs and people in certain areas of the country. One of these gang violence reduction programs is the Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS) out of New Orleans, Louisiana. The GVRS is an effective strategy and this will be proven by examining how the strategy works and what its goals are, while also looking at statistical evidence that shows it has an impact on the overall amount of group and gang violence. Although this strategy is effective, it is not a stand-alone strategy meaning that it will work better when combined with other strategies and programs to help reduce the amount of gang and group violence.

What the GVRS does

Between 2010 and 2012, government officials from New Orleans including the mayors office, the NOPD, federal and local prosecutors and federal law enforcement drew on strategies such as the GVRS to build the interorganizational capacity necessary for strategic implementations Corsaro & Engel (2015). The GVRS is a murder reduction strategy which relied on violence interrupters and outreach workers to mediate conflicts between conflicting groups and the city relied on both a multiagency and a comprehensive problem solving framework to address the persistent citywide patterns of violence Corsaro & Engel (2015).

The first part of the strategy is the problem identification phase which is when law enforcement in New Orleans partnered with researchers to look at homicide reports as well as gang audits to identify the groups that are most prone to violence across the different areas of the city. The first phase of this strategy began in June 2012, when members from the NOPD teamed up with Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco (ATF) special agents, researchers from the Institute of Crime Science at the University of Cincinnati, and members of the Cincinnati police department who had a lot of experience with gang audits. Information about violent street gangs were then put into four dimensions.

The dimensions are individual gang members, geography, social networks, and participation in violence Corsaro & Engel (2015). This group of investigators identified 59 potential street gangs in the 6 of 7 districts throughout the city. It is estimated that there were 600-700 members throughout these gangs and that they were at risk for violence because of their social networks. Social networks could be any active rivalries or disputes that gangs have between each other and this can lead them to more violence. The officers concluded that the gangs in the cities are changing and becoming less hierarchical, and less structured and the territorial violence and nature of these groups could be due to the fact of the displacement of low-income residents after Hurricane Katrina Engel & Corsaro (2012).

This meaning that after the hurricane in New Orleans, many people had relocated to get to safety, including violent group and gang members. Once the hurricane was over, the gangs territory might have been taken over or destroyed. As a result of this, the gangs and groups are looking for new turf to take over an control, which contributes to the gang violence and murder rate because they are killing one another in order to control the turf that they want. In preparation for the GVRS the research team and the NOPD focused on identifying the loosely affiliated networks of offenders engaging in violence. Based on this more in-depth and comprehensive review, the current investigation identified 54.3% of all lethal incidents between January 1, 2010 through March 31, 2014 as group or gang member involved (GMI), indicating that the incident involved a gang member as a victim, suspect, or both Corsaro & Engel (2012),

In order to come up with a target population for this strategy, Law enforcement officials most familiar with these groups and gangs provided detailed feedback to the criminal justice working group about gang participation in violence leading to a continually updated list of potential gangs to include in the call-ins Corsaro & Engel (2015). These gangs became the target of a multipronged approach that included law enforcement, the threat of enhanced prosecution and the use of social services. During the course of this strategy, the NOPD conducted 5 separate offender notification settings to deliver antiviolence messages to offenders associated with Problematic Gangs that were incarcerated or were on probation or parole between October 2012 and March 2014 Corsaro & Engel (2015).

During these call in sessions, 158 individuals representing 54 high violence gangs were notified about enhanced sanctions that would follow any involvement in violence, and these members were told to pass the message along to the other members of the gang. Also the gangs were warned specifically that the next murder or shooting committed by a member of the notified gang, would result in immediate and enhanced law enforcement scrutiny of the entire group for any criminal activity. To ensure that the message got across to the gang members, the investigators showed them previous gang members who are facing rigid federal and state prison sentences.

In terms of organizational structure, a multiagency law enforcement taskforce(including local and federal partners) was created to track gang violence, review data sources and intelligence, and build criminal cases on violent gang members Corsaro & Engel (2015). Including the 158 individuals, 6 more individuals were visited by police in what is called a custom notification session. This is when the police go out and warn the gang members personally, instead of the gang members coming to a call in session. Specifically, high-risk groups and gangs were identified through problem analyses, notified of future sanctions in call-in sessions, subjected to enhanced enforcement actions when antiviolence rules were broken, and provided access to social service opportunities Corsaro & Engel (2015).

Assessment of Impact: In order to assess how effective this strategy is, the researchers employed a two-phase methodological design. First, they compared the relative homicide rate change in New Orleans with cities that have been classified as having the most volatile and stable homicide rates. Next, they examined changes in targeted violence within New Orleans by employing a standard interrupted time-series design that compares multiple targeted crime outcome (i.e., homicides, gun homicides, gang homicides, and firearm assaults) in the postintervention period relative to preintervention trends after controlling consistent shocks and drifts in the longitudinal data to better isolate potential programmatic effects within the city (CookandCampbell,1979).

Phase 1 of this study was designed to see if New Orleans experienced a change in homicide rates compared to the other cities with similarly high rates. As an initial step, the researchers Corsaro & Engel (2012), drew from work by McCall (2011) that was based on a long term trajectory analysis of homicide rates in U.S cities from 1976 to 2005. The homicide data analysis used in the study to examine New Orleans are for the years 2008 through 2013. Corsaro & Engel conducted a series of difference in difference poisson regression models based on this equation:

log(Homicides)it = α+I(NewOrleans)itB1 +I(Treatment)itB2 +I(NewOrleans)it ×I(Treatment)itB3 +logPopulation it +εit

“Where log(Homicides) it denotes the homicide count for each city between 2008 and 2013 (which is transformed into a homicide rate via the natural logarithm with the inclusion of the population exposure variable on the right-hands ide of the equation), I(New Orleans) it is an indicator variable that equals 1 if the city is New Orleans and 0 otherwise, I(Treatment) it is an indicator variable that equals 1 if the year is in the post treatment period and 0 otherwise, and where+I(New Orleans)it ×I(Treatment)it is the difference-in-difference estimator to examine the direct impact of the change in homicides in New Orleans compared with other highly chronic lethal violent U.S. cities” Corsaro & Engel (2015).

This quote shows the equation that the researchers used and what each part of the equation stands for in order to come up with accurate results. The researchers then looked at 6 other cities (Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis, Newark, Flint, and Richmond California) and compared those cities homicide rates to that of New Orleans and came up with a difference in difference regression analysis to compare the shift in homicide rates from the 6 cities to New Orleans. According to Corsaro & Engel they found that

“The difference-in-difference findings displayed in Table 3 mirror those presented previously; specifically, New Orleans experienced a statistically significant 31.2% homicide rate divergence (b=–.375, SE=.102) when the intervention date in the model is set to year 2013 (Model 1). Likewise, Model 2 shows that New Orleans had a 26.9% statistically significant reduction (b=–.314, SE=.149) in homicides in the years 2012–2013 when compared with the control cities. Finally, the difference-in-difference estimate was not statistically significant in Model 3 (b = –.241, SE = .162), which indicates that the homicide rate departure in New Orleans did not occur in 2011—or before the intervention was actually implemented.” Corsaro & Engel (2012).

This quote is directly from the researchers findings and it explains what is shown in the table in their article and what it means. This shows that before the implementation of the intervention strategy that there was no change in the homicide rate and that after the implementation of this strategy, there was some significant reduction in homicide in New Orleans. Another finding was that the rate change in homicides rates between preintervention and postintervention periods in New Orleans was significant when compared to the other 6 cities that were examined during this study.

Lastly, researchers Corsaro and Engel (2012) found that the greatest change in homicide rate in New Orleans was in 2013, which was the first full year that New Orleans was in the postintervention period means that the GVRS is in effect. Also they found that the homicide rate was marginally lower for New Orleans from 2012-2013 ( the intervention was implemented in late 2012), and that in 2011 it did not seem to exist, which was the year prior to the intervention. These results show that New Orleans experienced a significant change in homicide rates that corresponded with the implementation of the GVRS.

To examine how the GVRS also effected crime in New Orleans, Corsaro & Engel used an interrupted time series analysis that accounts for additional changes in certain types of targeted crime outcomes. In order to try and examine other program impacts, the researchers looked at overall homicides, firearm related homicides, firearm results and gang member involved (GMI) homicides. The data that was examined was provided by the NOPD crime analysis Unit. Corsaro and Engel used November 2012 as the preintervention and postintervention date.

In their research findings, the mean number of monthly total homicides dropped from a pretest mean of 15.24 to a posttest mean of 12.41 after implementation of the GVRS. Also during the same observation period, Corsaro & Engel found that there was a reduction in the number of firearm related homicides which went from a pretest mean of 13.8 to a posttest mean of 11.41. As for GMI homicides, this category experienced the most substantive drop. Going from a pretest mean of 8.8 to a posttest mean of 6.2. Lastly the number of firearm assaults experienced a change as well going from a pretest mean of 33.4 per month to 28.0 per month.


Overall after the examination of the studies conducted by Corsaro & Engel (2015) it is clear to see that after the implementation of the GVRS there was some change in the level of firearm violence and hang violence. They used many variables and many different studies to see just how much of an impact the GVRS had on New Orleans. In doing this, it makes their research more viable because of how many things they measured for which makes for a concrete study. However all of these changes are not because of just the GVRS.

As stated above the GVRS is a great strategy but it is not a stand alone strategy in that in needs to be implemented with other violence reduction strategies because it will have more of an effect that way. Having said that the GVRS has proven to be effective in a large city like New Orleans so now other cities can look at what New Orleans did and maybe change a few things around so that the GVRS fits the profile of people that they are trying to reduce from committing crime.

Ways to Reduce Group and Gang Violence essay

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Ways to Reduce Group and Gang Violence. (2022, Jan 14). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/ways-to-reduce-group-and-gang-violence/


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