‘We want to keep people safe’: Group Violence Intervention hits one year mark in Davenport

The initiative was launched by Davenport Police in 2022
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 6:34 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Safe, alive, and out of prison. That is what the Group Violence Intervention initiative aims to achieve in Davenport. The approach was launched in 2022 and now, Davenport Police have provided updated statistics on the initiative.

According to Davenport Police, 2019 and 2020 were two of the most violent years in the city. Shots fired calls alone were at a five-year high as they received 282 calls during that time frame.

During a media briefing on Wednesday, Davenport Police Chief Jeff Bladel reflected on the previously high levels of violence in Davenport.

“We look at some of the violence and shots fired statistics, the year of 2019-2020 was a horrible year for us [Davenport],” Bladel said. “We were continually responding to shots fired calls, shooting victims, [and] we experienced things as a police department that we’ve never ever experienced before.”

The five-year high led to the creation of the Group Violence Intervention (GVI) initiative. GVI combines law enforcement with the community and social services to help lower violence.

With the initiative launching in 2022, Davenport Police now have a years worth of data that shows the initiative is working.

Gun violence statistics provided by Davenport Police
Gun violence statistics provided by Davenport Police(KWQC Staff)

“2020-2021, we had a 26.5% reduction and then last year, we had another 17.4% reduction in the amount of shootings that we [Davenport Police] responded to,” Bladel said. “The most significant decrease in recent months shows a 42% decrease in shots fired call incidents in 2023 compared to 2022.”

Part of Group Violence Intervention is custom notifications, or home visits, to possibly violent offenders or those who have committed a violent crime in the past, or someone who has been a victim of gun violence. Since the launch of the initiative, GVI has done 84 custom notifications and only 4 of those individuals ended up re-offending.

One year later statistics provided by Davenport Police
One year later statistics provided by Davenport Police(KWQC Staff)

Dwayne Hodges, a community volunteer with GVI, says having a community member as a part of the team shows that through the GVI initiative, there are people who care about your well being if you’ve fallen into a life of violent crime.

“But the thing is, if we come in, and we come in with this approach, and saying, Look, we’re here to help you, we’re gonna keep you safe alive and especially if you’re talking to somebody with a bullet hole in their leg, or in their arm or their back or whatever [and say] we’re trying to keep you alive, what can we do to help you? That makes all the difference,” Hodges said.

Other statistics included in the media briefing included the following:

  • Between 2021 and 2022, there were 44 non-fatal shootings in both years showing a steady hold on the trend.
  • Before GVI, there were 2 group-related homicides in Davenport. Post GVI, there have been 0.

Bladel also mentioned during the media briefing that Davenport is actively working with other Quad City police departments to help bring an initiative similar to GVI to other parts of the Quad Cities.