In this issue:

Special Report: GVI Support & Outreach

Poll #1: Do you like receiving the STOP the Violence Newsletter?
March 29, 2022
STOP the Violence
News & Updates
The City of Pittsburgh STOP the Violence Office exists to change the community narrative about violence and stop the spread of the disease of violence in the City. While we are concerned as well with the surrounding areas and will share solutions and events in those areas, we only have jurisdiction in the City. We would be pleased to share our knowledge and strategies with any jurisdiction outside of the City.

Table of Contents

  • Speaking Up: Mayor Ed Gainey-"We want ZERO gun violence"
  • Solutions: GVI Support & Outreach-How Can Your Organization Help?
  • Solutions: PIRC Movement-Do you want to start a reentry support group?

  • Archive: Mayor Ed Gainey-"YOU are the answer"
  • Something You Can Do: Pray for Peace and Against Violence
  • Training: Group Violence Intervention; Gun Violence and Public Health Webinar Series; Conflict Resolution Training and More
  • Facts and Stats: From February 2022
  • Tips for You
  • Coming Events
  • Community Resources

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Speaking Up:
Mayor Ed Gainey

"We want zero gun violence"

Mayor Gainey again spoke eloquently and prophetically at the March 22 Homewood Community Meeting organized by the Mayor's Office and held at the Community Empowerment Association.

Before a packed auditorium, Mayor Gainey stated that "We want zero gun violence".
Realizing that many in the audience might be skeptical of such a lofty goal, the Mayor continued by saying: "Some people will say that's unrealistic. But I say, is trying unrealistic? If the ancestors didn't try ... So do you still think it's unrealistic? Then let's go get it!"

To see Mayor Gainey's entire 12 minute speech, please click on the box below. The entire meeting video is over an hour; however, Mayor Gainey mentions the zero violence goal around minute 15 (unfortunately, the sound quality is sometimes poor).
Poll #2: Is Mayor Gainey's goal of "zero gun violence" worth pursuing?

GVI Support & Outreach

A Public Health Approach to Violence Prevention-Part 3

Can your organization compliment the strategy?
A central component in the City of Pittsburgh’s public health approach to violence prevention strategy is its Group Violence Intervention initiative (known as GVI). GVI uses a multi-aspect strategy including:

  • Informed street outreach and social service support
  • Informed community members reinforcing community norms rejecting violence
  • Law enforcement in partnership with the community
Pittsburgh’s Public Health Approach to Violence Prevention-Part 1 was featured in the August 2021 STOP the Violence Newsletter which can be accessed HERE. Part 2, including GVI and its complete logic model, was featured in the October 2021 Newsletter and can be accessed
How does support and outreach work?
Recent research on GVI’s support and outreach component was released this month by the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC). The report explains that in GVI, traditional “social services'' are replaced with a structure “tailored to members of the
special core street population, their situation, and their needs.” This is done because “many GVI clients are not ready for traditional social services like remedial education and employment training … these clients instead receive ‘support and outreach.’ Support is defined as ‘providing centralized and accessible services for people at high risk of violence.’” Outreach is defined as ‘’making deliberate, persistent, and consistent connections to people involved in violence to foster new relationships and build community.”
For the entire report on Support and Outreach, click HERE.
Some of the problems with traditional social services include: providers often preferring to work with those who are “ready to change,” and people directly involved with gun violence often are not; challenging goals such as avoiding violent victimization and offending and avoiding arrest and imprisonment; restrictive conditions for participation; negative and discouraging experiences with service providers by many core population members; and service offerings not appropriate for the GVI population’s real-world situation, which is frequently extraordinarily dangerous and chaotic."
Pittsburgh’s Support and Outreach
In Pittsburgh, GVI’s support and outreach, known as Reach, is delivered through a contract with The Center that Cares, a Hill District based nonprofit that has workers strategically placed in many City neighborhoods. Reach has highly trained and skilled workers who have lots of experience in this field, they understand Pittsburgh’s model and are connected to the people in the communities that they are working and living in.

Left, Reach outreach team members Jason Akers, Keyshawn Brooks, Ayo Young and Vaughn Rivers with Mayor Gainey
According to Reverend Cornell Jones, Director of Street Outreach for the City of Pittsburgh “I know our outreach is successful because community members and people who are close to situations have told me that if it weren’t for the outreach worker, they might have done something much worse than what actually happened. The relationship they had with the worker and the resources, attention and even love that they provided helped stop them from doing something that might have gotten them locked up in the penitentiary for the rest of their life or even killed.”
Support and Outreach Best Practices
NNSC’s research from around the country has shown that effective outreach and support includes these best practices:

The Goal: Staying alive and out of prison. Create “a comprehensive partnership of providers with the explicit goal of keeping clients alive, unhurt, and out of prison, and formal tracking and metrics commensurate with that goal (rather than, for example, job placement and retention alone). Support and outreach will include an overall recognition that movement in that direction is progress and positive (rather than, for instance, that not getting or keeping a job is “failure”). The partnership will recognize and address street culture, trauma, and objective risk—not unemployment—as the primary drivers of violence. We will mobilize known approaches—and work to develop new ones—to challenge the “street code” that drives violence, identify and address “beefs” and retaliatory cycles, change people’s behavior in ways that do not require arrest and incarceration, and treat trauma.”

·        Actually reach out.  “Leaving the streets is, for most, an ongoing process” and will take “deliberate, persistent, and consistent outreach to people involved in violence to foster new relationships and community, mentorship from people with similar pasts to help transition out of the street life, and removing obstacles that have prohibited these individuals from receiving help and building legitimate community relationships.” 
·        Protect from risk. Communicate with all parties to a dispute “to head off violence and retaliation. Outreach workers will work on both sides of conflicts, and the system overall will provide unbiased relief and services to both victims and perpetrators of violent crime.”

Address trauma. "Recognize, honor and address trauma, develop treatment resources, cognitive behavior therapy, post-homicide support, and peer recovery group settings for sharing and debriefing. Offer help to people involved in group violence, who often have internalized the idea that they are bad and worthless, to understand their worth and articulate their needs."

·        Provide critical resources.  “Address emergency needs and provide low-level but critical resources not commonly taken seriously or budgeted for”, including “clearing outstanding warrants, licensing and ID assistance, phone and mail service, child care, transportation, emergency housing and food assistance, funeral costs, navigating bureaucracy, and the like.”

·        Support the whole family. Provide help “not only for people directly involved in violence but also for their family members. Whether that be diapers for children or CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) for a mother, creating a more secure home and family life.”

·        Connect to traditional services. “Close links to traditional services—education, work, life skills, family support, etc.—will make it easier to move people into those services as they stabilize and become ready.”
Reports Rev. Jones, “One guy we worked with was a new father and a lot of the stuff he did on the streets was to provide for his children. We were able to connect him with fatherhood programs where he’s able to get items like diapers and access to a support group of young and older fathers who talk about ways to be a good father. Since our client didn’t grow up around his father, he didn’t know what to do. Now he has a support system.”
Reverend Cornell Jones
Director of Street Outreach
City of Pittsburgh
“This helps prevent violence because now he sees that if he gets arrested or killed, how that will negatively affect his children. The outreach workers were the ones who were able to direct him to the resources in order to get that support. Attention, time and community are extremely important. Letting someone see that they are important to all of us helps people stay out of jail and stay alive. It also helps them find their purpose.” 
The Village Must Keep Asking
It is “vital that an offer of legitimate assistance is given. People involved in group violence have been failed by social services before and will likely be distrustful. Follow through and honesty about what support and outreach can (and can’t) be provided are imperative for increasing the likelihood of people closest to group violence taking up services. Word spreads quickly among group members about … promises and offers of help from support and outreach. Tailoring legitimate support and outreach toward a city’s GVI population—those most likely to be the victims or perpetrators of violence— can and will help prevent harm to individuals and their communities at large.”
The NNSC study concludes: “Many people who are offered services through GVI will not choose to access them. This does not make the offer of legitimate, helpful, and accessible services any less important. Research does show a causal reduction in violent crime created by nonprofits focused on reducing violence and building stronger communities. The presence of service organizations—not even necessarily anti-violence organizations— does have an impact on violent crime.” 
How you can help
Community efforts to compliment the GVI strategy are encouraged. Rev. Jones states: “Other community members, businesses and ministries can help too, even if they don’t have the skills to be an outreach worker, they can help us by sharing resources that can be directed towards the vulnerable population. We need everything that community members need in order to be successful from food to employment to fatherhood and motherhood support.” To get involved, please send an email to the STOP the Violence Office by clicking HERE.
A funding opportunity for violence prevention efforts that will enhance the GVI strategy should be forthcoming within a few weeks. If you’re interested in learning more about this funding opportunity, please complete the poll below or send an email HERE.
Poll #3: Would you like to know more about GVI Support and Outreach?
Poll #4. Are you interested in the funding opportunity mentioned above?
Yes, definitely, please send details when they're available
PIRC Movement -
A Supportive Community For Returning Citizens

Partners Needed
Positive Initiative to Reinforce Change (PIRC) Movement is a weekly self-help support group run by and intended for individuals reentering the community from incarceration and their families, supporters and other compassionate community members. At each Tuesday night PIRC Movement meeting, participants share their experiences with the group. Since everyone has life experiences to share, ANYONE (including YOU) is welcome to participate and join!
“PIRC Movement is important because it shows individuals coming out of prison that they’re not alone in the struggle and don’t have to go back to prison. We uplift one another. It’s just so important,” said Rodger Jay, PIRC Movement meeting conductor and a Peer Support Specialist for Foundation of HOPE. Rodger admits that he “was part of the problem” which resulted in him being shot in the head. Ultimately, he spent 25 years in various prisons.   

During the one-hour meeting, participants share their challenges; learn about resources; network; and set goals for addressing social, relational, intellectual, vocational, spiritual, and emotional needs. 
PIRC Movement is a project of Foundation of HOPE, which offers a comprehensive array of services to reentering individuals, including basic needs assistance (transportation, clothing, ID’s, toiletries, furniture), housing and employment support and referrals, counseling, and one-on-one mentoring.
Additional locations and partners are now being sought for PIRC Movement meetings. If you'd like to start a PIRC Movement group in your community, or
to refer someone to PIRC Movement, just show up at 7:00 pm on Tuesday at 540 Suismon Street (Rear), 15212 (Northside) OR contact Foundation of HOPE's Aftercare office at 412-321-3343 or email: HERE.
Poll #5. Would your organization consider becoming a PIRC Movement partner?

Archive: Mayor Gainey

"YOU are the answer"

Mayor Gainey spoke at a February 11, 2021 Stop the Violence Prayer Vigil and Rally organized by the South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace. The Mayor made a few key points:
Mayor Ed Gainey
"There’s nobody coming in our neighborhoods to stop the violence except for the ones who live in the neighborhood.

"If you want to stop this killing, don’t look around, look inside.

"Until we adults get off social media arguing and fighting with one another like they’re 10 or 11 years old, but in the next sentence saying ‘we need peace’. Now how are you saying ‘we need peace’ while you’re on social media talking violence? 

"We’ve got to change our ways. How are we going to save us when you hide in the silence? Somebody knows what’s happening in these killings. We look downtown to police to solve it, but we won’t cooperate.  It’s time for us to step up. 

If you’d like to hear Mayor Gainey's entire talk, just click on the picture below.

Something You Can Do:

Pray For Peace and Against Violence

Anyone can pray for peace and against violence either alone or as part of the STOP the Violence Prayer Team. If prayer is important to you, please pray whenever and wherever possible against violence.
Eastminster Presbyterian Church in East Liberty prays weekly for peace in the City, for Outreach workers who are attempting to reduce violence, and for law enforcement. Senior Pastor Paul Roberts says that they adopted the challenge to pray against violence and for peace because "we are called to be peacemakers and regular prayer is a foundational step in doing that. I would encourage others to pray for peace and not just to stop the violence."
The Reverend Paul Roberts
Senior Pastor
Eastminster Presbyterian Church
According to Pastor Roberts, regular praying "keeps peace in the mind and heart of out community. It causes us to discuss and ask questions like what should we be doing."
If you, your pastor or spiritual leader or your place of worship or church sign up for the non-denominational prayer team, you will receive periodic prayer request emails and notices about faith-based initiatives to prevent violence and increase peace in our community. You can sign up HERE.
Group Violence Intervention +
Pittsburgh's Group Violence Intervention initiative (GVI) is a proven strategy to reduce shootings and homicides in urban neighborhoods by using a multi-aspect strategy:

  • informed street outreach and social services to prevent violence,
  • involved community members reinforcing community norms rejecting violence; and
  • law enforcement in partnership with the community when other means are not effective.

For additional information on GVI, including its history and rationale, see this hour-long webinar from Mayors Against Illegal Guns entitled Re-imagining Public Safety: Group Violence Intervention and Intimate Partner Intervention: Webinar. The password is: MAIGUn1versity!

Pittsburgh’s Group Violence Intervention (GVI) violence prevention strategy, including the complete logic model, was featured in the October 2021 STOP the Violence Newsletter which can be accessed HERE.

Support and outreach for GVI are coordinated by Rev. Cornell Jones, Director of Outreach who can be contacted at
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore and Seattle Council President Lorena Gonzalez headed the list of speakers in a ten hour webinar on August 18 and 19, 2021 organized by the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College to help journalists and the public gain greater understanding on efforts to address the rising levels of gun violence in at-risk communities.
The series focused on prevention and intervention strategies. Leaders of community intervention strategies and programs in Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Sacramento discussed what is and isn’t working in their cities. Pittsburgh’s efforts compare quite favorably with these efforts. 

The webinar consists of seven sessions, each lasting from 30 to 90 minutes. A table of contents is available so you can watch a particular session. Please take a look HERE.
Conflict Resolution Training

If you would like more information on violence prevention and some suggestions on ways to be involved with anti-violence activities, please click on and watch the two-hour training video to the right. This training was conducted in January 2021.

Our outreach teams include violence interrupters, but there are lots of other roles to play. After viewing the training video, please let us know your thoughts and how you'd like to be involved!
Webinar: Mind Always Matters

For more on grief support and mental health, see: Mind Always Matters, a POISE Foundation Community Conversation recorded November 18, 2021 with Jessica Gurley, LCSW and Julius Boatwright, LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker).  This 75 minute discussion can be found HERE.
Webinar: How to Heal After a Homicide

For an insightful discussion on healing from trauma and access to resources necessary to heal after a loss, experts Dr. Toya Jones (Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work) and Valerie Dixon (Director of Family and Community Support for the Center for Victims) see the recorded video: How to Heal After a Homicide. This 37 minute video was recorded in January 2022.

Just click below to see the video:

Facts & Stats:

From February 2022

Below are selected crime statistics from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. These statistics are from the period January 1 to February 28, 2022. These only cover the City, not any areas of Allegheny County which are outside of the City.

City of Pittsburgh Police Zones:
A few statistics of note:

  • There were 4 homicides in February 2022. This is the same as in January 2022.
  • There were twice as many homicides in February as in January.
  • 4 homicides in February is above the 4 year average of 3 homicides.
  • 5 non-fatal shooting incidents in February was less than half the number of incidents as in January and the lower than 2019, 2020 and 2021.
  • There were no homicides in police zones 1,2,4 or 6 in February.
  • No homicides occurred in police zones 3 or 4.
  • The most homicides in 2022 were in zones 3 and 5 (3 homicides in each zone).
  • The most non-fatal shooting incidents in 2022 have been in zone 5.
  • There were no non-fatal shooting incidents or homicides in zone 4 in January or February.

Note: The 17 non-fatal shooting incidents in January and February 2022 resulted in a total of 20 victims.

Using a public health approach to violence prevention means attempting to understand the proximate and secondary causes of violence and tailoring solutions to fit the impacted population. There is no one answer.

If you are interested in working to change these statistics and increase the peace in the City of Pittsburgh, please click HERE to contact the STOP the Violence Office.

What will you do to help?
Poll #6: Are these statistics informative?

Tips for You:

#1: Keep your handgun safe

Keeping a gun secure from accidental discharge or theft is absolutely a good idea. It is a serious responsibility that rests solely on the gun owner and requires the proper equipment to prevent the worst-case scenario. Police regularly report instances when lawfully owned firearms are used in unanticipated ways by relatives, friends and strangers.

Two options are gun safes and gun locks.

Free Gun Safe. To assist you keeping your gun secure, get a FREE gun safe at UPMC Children's Hospital's Safer Firearm Storage Event at the Community Engagement Center in Homewood on April 19 from 5 to 7 pm. No registration is required. Contact or 412-692-5931 for additional information. See the flyer below.

Free Gun Locks. the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is providing free gun locks for all members of the public while supplies last. Locks may be picked up at Pittsburgh Police Headquarters or at any of the 6 Pittsburgh Police Zones. For addresses, click HERE.

#2: Don't leave a key fob in your keyless entry car!

If your key fob is inside your car, anyone can start it in a second. Cars are regularly reported stolen where a key fob (often the spare key fob) was in the glove compartment or center console.

Don't make your car an easy target. Lock your car at all times and take all key fobs with you when you leave the vehicle.

Safety begins with you making good decisions!

Call Us If You Become Aware of a Dispute

If you hear of a school, social media or community dispute that needs to be defused before it leads to violence, please let us know. We would like to take positive steps to resolve such disputes before law enforcement must be called.

Please report any such disputes or issues to: STOP the Violence Office or text to 412-522-7286.

Domestic Violence Help:

Violence is not an acceptable method to resolve issues between friends or partners. If there are threats, please seek help!

When in danger, call 911 immediately.

Some other resources are in the Domestic Violence Resource Guide is reproduced below and can be accessed HERE.
February Poll Responses

Poll #1:
Do you agree with Mayor Gainey?

  • Yes, totally 77%
  • Yes, partially 18%
  • No opinion 5%

Poll #2:
Do you know anyone who could benefit from the Student Police Academy?
  • Yes 48%
  • No 52%

Poll #3:
Do you know someone who could benefit from PIRC Movement?

  • Yes 46%
  • No 54%

Poll #4:
Can you attend a meeting of PIRC Movement to share your experiences?

  • Yes 46%
  • No 54%

Poll #5:
Did you take a look at the Teen Dating Violence Action Guide?

  • Yes 83%
  • No 17%

Poll #6:
Do you feel safe in your community?

  • Yes 60%
  • No 40%

Thank you for responding.

How will you help?
Previous Newsletters

Click on the dates below to find past issues of the City of Pittsburgh STOP the Violence Newsletter:

Do You Have Any Ideas?

The Stop the Violence Newsletter is produced monthly by Jay Gilmer, Coordinator of the STOP the Violence Office of the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety.

Please send any ideas, notices or suggestions to: STOP the Violence Office.
Coming Events

If you want to receive periodic event announcements or are aware of an anti-violence event that is open to the public, please click HERE to send us a notice or announcement. Thank you.
Community Resources

If you are aware of an resource that can contribute to violence prevention or reducing the impact of violence, please click HERE to send us a notice or announcement. Thank you.


Offering world-renowned expertise in evaluating and treating children who have experienced traumatic life events or live with post-traumatic stress disorder. A program of Allegheny Health Network.
Center for Victims
Hotline: 1-866-644-2882

Caring, professional staff is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to respond to emergency needs of crime victims and witnesses, answer questions, and provide support. You can also call:

Valerie Dixon at the Center for Victims at 1-412-403-0194 or

Darnell Drewery at the Center for Victims at 1-412-758-9237 or

A Federally Qualified Health Care Center providing a full range of medical, dental, pediatric, prenatal, and behavioral health services including staff therapists and workforce development.  Locations in East Liberty, Lincoln-Lemington and Wilkinsburg. Even if you don’t have insurance, please come.

540 Suismon Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Offering a variety of programs to prevent incarceration, chaplaincy and pre-release to serve individuals in Allegheny County Jail and aftercare to prevent recidivism. For information on their support community for reentering citizens, their families and community members, send an email HERE.

Please call if you need help or want to help:

Adult or Youth Diversion: 412-321-3343
Allegheny County Jail Chaplaincy: 412-350-2057
Allegheny County Jail Pre-Release: 412-350-1322
Jail or Prison Aftercare: 412-321-3343


Numerous Locations
in Allegheny County

GriefShare is for people grieving the death of a family member or friend. GriefShare groups meet weekly to help you face these challenges and move toward rebuilding your life. Each GriefShare session has three distinct elements: a video lesson, in-person group discussion, and personal reflection.

This weekly group is free (just purchase the workbook online), open to anyone, and is offered in numerous locations in western Pennsylvania. The 13 week series features a video and optional discussion. To be part of the next series starting in early 2022, just find a location and sign up on the website at
Highmark Caring Place

620 Stanwix Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

As a peer support program, the Caring Place provides an environment where children, teens and adults can receive support from others their own ages who are going through very similar experiences, such as the loss of a parent or other loved one.
Jeremiah’s Place

6435 Frankstown Avenue
15206 (Larimer)

Pittsburgh’s only crisis nursery. It provides emergency child care services for children ages 0-6 for a few hours or days based on the needs of each individual family. All services provided are free, available for 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
Melanin Mommies

Latrice “Phoenix” Rose started Melanin Mommies after watching how social media rallied around George Floyd, but no one mentioned his family members, who were also affected by grief and trauma. After doing a survey of families who lost someone, she realized that mental health services weren’t always offered to them. Even for those few families that received some counseling resources, they needed more for their families and children because the grief didn’t stop.

Do you need help coping with your loss? Is your child struggling to cope with the loss of a parent or sibling? Please sign up for the next Melanin Mommies Mental Healing Cohort which starts in February 2022. It will meet for 12 weeks every Saturday at 10:30 am. For more information, see the Melanin Mommies Facebook page or contact Latrice Rose at at
Men’s Huddle Group
Paul B. Jones, Sr. experienced the death of his 19 year old son Jeremiah in 2017. He formed The Men’s Huddle Group as a support group for fathers who have lost children to gun violence and otherwise.

The Men’s Huddle Group meets the fourth Thursday of each month from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in East Liberty (250 Highland Avenue, 15206 – across from Home Depot).
For additional information, contact Paul Jones via email at or call anytime (24/7) at 412-613-1912.
The MOMS Group
Support For Mothers

Tina Ford of Clairton formed Mothers of Murdered Sons (The MOMS Group) after the loss of her son in 2019.

The MOMS Group meets in Clairton on the third Saturday of each month. All are welcome, just call Tina in advance for the location. If transportation is a problem, just call Tina – MOMS sometimes arranges transportation or makes home visits to provide support.
For more information, see the MOMS Group Facebook page HERE or contact Tina Ford at 412-219-7157 or
The Trauma Response Team cares for the acute needs of family and friends of homicide victims of gun violence across all of Allegheny County.

Dan Emerick, MDiv, MSW – Trauma Response Team Manager

  • Alma Illery Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Services Office:
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s 24 hour Helpline:
1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741
  • City of Pittsburgh Dept. of Public Safety’s Victims of Crime Office:
  • Dr. Staci Ford: 412-277-4616
  • Jessica Gurley, LCSW: (412) 204-6934
  •  RESOLVE Crisis Center - 24 hours: 1-888-796-8226
Teen Dating Violence

Since one in three teens is a victim of teen dating violence, you probably know someone who has been a victim.

Click HERE for resources on teen dating violence. Click on the picture for a Teen Dating Violence Action Action Guide.
Poll #7. Is the elimination of violence a goal worth pursuing?
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