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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – With Lexington on track to pass last year’s homicide numbers, groups and officials are calling for more to be done. The suggestion of implementing Group Violence Intervention or GVI has come up in recent months.

But what exactly is the program, and would it work? FOX56 spoke to one municipality that’s in the process of implementing the strategy now.

GVI started in Boston in the 1990s to curb the city’s homicide rate.

The strategy hones in on the idea that most of a city’s crime is committed by a small network of people, or a group.


Cincinnati and Indianapolis already have this program in place and both cities seem to be having some success.

In Indianapolis, there has been a 34% reduction in homicides. In Cincinnati, there has been a 41% decrease in group-member-involved homicides.

The program puts pressure on those identified groups using a three-pronged approach, involving law enforcement, the community, and social services.

Jackson, Michigan, which only has a population of about 33,000 is in the process of implementing GVI.

Public safety director, Elmer Hitt, said about 5 years ago the city saw an uptick in violent crimes. The city sits along two major interstates that connect Detroit and Chicago and Detroit and Lansing, Michigan.


Hitt outlined the next steps of implementation which will focus on the intervention piece of this strategy.

Hitt explained, “It is identifying those who are at highest risk of committing violence or being a victim of violence and making a consorted effort to go out and make contact with these people as a team. One person from law enforcement, one person with that community moral voice that violence won’t be tolerated and the third prong to offer a sincere offer of help.”

Hitt stressed the strategy may not work for every community.

In Lexington, Mayor Linda Gorton and Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers both oppose it, saying it can be a form of profiling.

For those in favor, the first step would be to get an analysis done on the city’s crime and gun data to see if the program would be a match.