Rock Island looks at Group Violence Intervention
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - Rock Island officials are looking at a different way to curb violence by using community resources outside of the police department.
According to a presentation to the city council, Monday, gun violence in the city rose 70 percent from 2021 to 2022.
Group Violence Intervention is the next tool the police department wants to use to reduce that rate.
Rock Island Police Chief Richard Landi said the program aims to stop crime before it happens.
“There’s always going to be crime,” Landi said. “It’s just our best thing is trying to manage it, trying to keep it at the lowest level possible.”
With help from the social services group Family Resources, GVI will soon be implemented in the Illinois Quad Cities.
Landi said the program relies on collaboration between the community and its assets.
“What we want to do is focus on those individuals that we know are either going to be the victims of crime, or that may be committing these crimes,” Landi said. “Try to get to them before that happens, try to offer them the services.”
It’s a strategy already in place for over a year in the Iowa QC.
According to Davenport’s Chief Strategy Officer, Sarah Ott, out of 90 participants in GVI programming, only 4 have committed another crime with a gun.
Ott said they’re excited to see another agency adopt the approach.
“We know that crime doesn’t adhere to any sort of borders,” Ott said. “Crime that we’re seeing in Davenport is often back and forth across the river.
Now, the Rock Island Police Department is looking at which resources it has available to make the program as successful as possible.
Both Ott and Landi said that law enforcement alone will not solve crime.
“What we’re trying to do right now is tailor it so that we can still deliver that philosophy, that model, but make it unique for Rock Island,” Landi said.
Those resources may range from helping a person receive their G.E.D. or driver’s license to pointing them to mental health services.
The goal is to get them on the right track.
“A successful GVI is where we can point individuals that we’ve made contact with and we can ... as time goes on, those individuals have moved on and made a better life for themselves become productive persons in society,” Landi said.
The department is still in the beginning phase of implementing the approach. There is no official timeline for when GVI will be completely in place in Rock Island.
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