NEWBURGH–City of Newburgh Police Chief Daniel Cameron joined the Orange County DA for a “call-in” on Oct. 21 as part of a Group Violence Intervention (GVI) program meant to prevent violent crime.
Newburgh law enforcement met with parolees and persons on probation associated with violence in the city to let them know the rules have changed and they are on notice. GVI is an aspect of Gun-Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE), grants from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
“We have brought an initiative to Newburgh that has been successfully used in major cities across the United States,” Cameron said. “Those who choose to commit violence in Newburgh are being put on notice, while at the same time given opportunities for change.”
Newburgh’s GVI is multi-faceted. Law enforcement uses data to find the most violent groups in the city and then vigorously enforces the law on those groups for any crimes they commit.
Over the last several months Newburgh police have watched the 118 William Street group. To date, 20 members of that group have been arrested and charged with crimes—18 in Orange County and two in Albany County.
When GVI does a “call-in” as on Oct. 21, it brings in members of the groups on probation or parole, and makes a three-part presentation. Parolees are informed that law enforcement will apply two new rules—group members who commit homicide will be closely watched and their group will be labeled “most violent.” The 118 William Street group got that label.
Several members of the community spoke at the call-in. A relative of a person killed by group violence told attendees their experience after losing their loved-one. A former group member explained how he reformed his or her lifestyle and a community representative appealed to the attendees to end the violence.
Call-in attendees are offered assistance to leave their violent lifestyle. Services can include education, job training, job placement, and financial assistance. Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County has been designated as the contact to receive the services.
Several agencies have partnered in the effort: the county DA and sheriff’s office, probation department, the Newburgh Police Department, the state department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the U.S. attorney. The John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s National Network for Safe Communities is assisting.
The GVI strategy operates in more than 20 cities in the United States. Communities applying GVI have seen reductions of as much as 50 percent in violent crime. Research indicates violence is overwhelmingly committed by less than 1 percent of the population and most often associated with organized gangs or looser associations.
The data indicates that Newburgh follows this pattern. Rather than spreading a wide net over law-abiding members of the community, GVI strategy targets the violent groups.
“The groups that we have identified through the GVI initiative are made up of the people in the City of Newburgh who are most likely to kill or to be killed. So far in 2015, law enforcement has reduced violent crime in the City by 17.5 percent, as compared to the average of the previous five years,” said David Hoovler, district attorney of Orange County.
“Through the use of the GVI strategy, we hope to make even greater strides in reducing violent crime, so that those most at risk of committing violent acts will stop the violence and will not become victimized themselves. In the end, we hope that this commitment will make the City of Newburgh a better and safer place to live, work, and learn.”
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