LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The year 2020 was a record-breaking deadly year for Louisville in homicides and gun violence. So far, 2021 has not slowed down that trend. So, a new method of curbing crime is set to begin. It's called "Group Violence Intervention" (GVI) and was the topic of discussion before a Metro Council committee Wednesday. The strategy is set to begin in the coming weeks.

What You Need To Know

  • "Group Violence Intervention" to begin soon as a new method of curbing crime

  • The method include meetings between community members where survivors, victims share experiences with those at-risk of committing crimes

  • There will be face-to-face meeting, but dates are yet to be determined

  • Christopher 2X says at least 10 people willing to participate so far

Less than two full months into 2021, there have been at least 25 criminal homicides according to Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) data. 

Anti-violence activist Christopher 2X says some of the victims and survivors of violence over the years are part of the GVI efforts. There will be meetings between community members, wherein survivors and those hurting express their experiences to the individuals at-risk of committing the crimes. The hope is to deter violent behavior and save lives. 

"Try to pull some heartstrings based on their loss," is how Christopher 2X describes the method. 

There will be face-to-face intervention meetings, but the dates are yet to be determined. He adds it's been difficult to plan how to safely meet under COVID-19 safety measures. But 2X's role in GVI has been to gather people like the parents of teens killed to talk. He says he has at least 10 people willing to participate so far. 

"I think that's important to this whole GVI conversation," he said. "That you need those kind of advocates who are suffering from extreme pain...to have them at least try to hopefully save a life. Because they'll never be able to bring that life back that they lost."

The person-to-person emotional appeal strategy puts less of an emphasis on police. GVI creator professor David Kennedy spoke to Metro Council's Public Safety Committee Wednesday to explain. He's successfully brought the method of reducing crime to several cities over several decades. 

"The right kind of law enforcement can be both tremendously powerful and extremely limited," Kennedy explained. "This is designed to reduce the footprint in the criminal justice system."

Kennedy gave an example of what police role may look like: "What we call 'custom notifications' going to somebody and saying: 'I am with the police. I am with the criminal justice system. I am not here to arrest you. I want you to know that we know what's going on. We don't want it to go any further and we're putting you on notice today of what your legal risks are should it continue...'"

Kennedy told members GVI has shown to be between 40 and 60% successful in other cities, but it can take about two years to show notable results. "This is a lot like medicine. There's nothing that works everywhere at every moment all the time."

"There's generally a big initial decrease followed by a kind of continued lowered like path," he added.

Even if it takes time to show a difference, 2X says it's worth a try, and "any tool to help tick down the violence. I think it's worth the try."

Meanwhile, a separate team is working through LMPD data to determine which at-risk individuals to participate in the meetings to hear the survivors speak.