Amid a spike in violence, Denver gang members were invited to a closed-door meeting last night where cops and prosecutors laid down the law while social workers and other service providers offered options for a better life, the Denver Post reports. The meeting was part of the city’s new Group Violence Intervention program, one of dozens of offerings in Denver’s plan to reduce gang violence. It is an offshoot of Ceasefire, a gang-intervention effort started in 2012 by Police Chief Robert White. Ceasefire, which also called gang members into closed-door meetings, had demonstrated success in other cities but also has proved hard to maintain.
Group Violence Intervention program can be described as “Ceasefire 2.0,” said Christine Downs, a Denver police spokeswoman. Commander Mark Fleecs, who supervises the police gang unit, said Ceasefire had mixed results. Some things worked. Some didn’t. The plan now is to narrow the focus toward the people who are the most violent, Fleecs said. The total number of gang-related crimes reported in 2014 was 335, down from 367 in 2010, police said. Gang officers also watch aggravated assaults, which account for the highest number of crimes, and a figure described as “unique incidents,” because that number reflects the actual number of crimes, which can have multiple victims.