YORK, Pa. — June is National Gun Violence Awareness Month. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 260 mass shootings this year.
Last year, there were 647 mass shootings, with 21 of them involving five or more fatalities.
Here in Central Pennsylvania, The York City Police Department (YPD) has implemented a strategic model to combat the increase in gun violence.
The Gun Violence Intervention Model (GVI) is a strategy implemented by police and the community to reduce gun violence in the area. The success of the model is measured by the participation of community groups and individuals in the outreach portion of the strategy. The data includes a quantitative measurement includes fatal and non-fatal shootings.
“We’ve seen huge decreases in our crime and I’ll tell you for example, year to date we’re down 73% in homicides than where we were at last year, we’re down 40% from where we were at in 2021,” said Captain Daniel Lentz, Chief of Staff at YPD.
Lentz said according to data, non-fatal shootings are down 52% from 2022 and down 66% from 2021. The GVI is under an umbrella that focuses on groups in the community who are involved in criminal activities. This is different from a gang because a gang is more cohesive and has a more defined structure.
“Most of what we see are groups and they identify as different parts of town but it’s not necessarily a formalized system,” said Lentz.
A strategy included in the GVI model is a “Call-In”, where different people who are close to close to shootings carried out by individuals tell people who may be going down the path what the consequences are if they do.
Those people include The District’s Attorney’s Office, Federal Prosecutors, someone who lost a loved one to gun violence, and even someone who turned their life around after being involved in criminal activities. The universal message is that gun violence has to stop and that there are consequences if the shootings continue.
“There are long-lasting consequences that don’t just affect you but they affect family members the rest of your community, law enforcement, and people forget that too that when our officers go to homicides… that incident sticks with them so it doesn’t just affect community individuals it affects everybody like there are so many different effects to it,” said Lentz.
Another step is a custom where police officers, intervention facilitators, and more get boots on the ground and talk to community members. Lentz said this technique is to help increase police presence as well as show a partnership with the community to make it safer.
“The work is not done, we’re really just kind of proud of where we’re at compared to where we were the last two years,” said Lentz.
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