Center for American Progress

What Are Community Violence Intervention Programs?

What Are Community Violence Intervention Programs?

In this video, community violence intervention leaders explain how their approach to preventing gun violence can transform communities—one person at a time.

Part of a Series

Employing credible messengers to perform street outreach in order to interrupt escalating tensions and to spread antiviolence messages started in the 1950s and 1960s with youth and street gang outreach programs in major cities across the country. Under the new name of community violence intervention (CVI), programs employing front-line workers with lived experiences and hyperlocal community knowledge are gaining national attention due to emerging evidence that they are some of the most effective strategies for preventing community violence.

Credible messengers are able to reach individuals at the highest risk of being involved in violence and to operate in places that police and other public safety workers generally cannot. However, CVI programs go beyond street outreach to prevent gun violence by working alongside case managers and other social service professionals to connect participants with essential social services such as housing and healing resources.

While each CVI program will look different based on the unique needs of the community it serves, programs commonly credit their success to taking an individualized approach to transforming communities. CVI programs focus support on a small group of violence-affected community members and connect them with resources and services that can change their lives. When properly implemented and sustained, CVI programs have reduced shootings by as much as 60 percent, making the programs an essential partner in a wider public safety ecosystem.

Cities investing in CVI programs are already seeing results. Through the first quarter of 2024, U.S. cities that have committed to CVI programs are experiencing some of the largest declines in gun homicide and gun victimization rates. However, despite this evidence, CVI programs are still broadly underfunded, jeopardizing their long-term effectiveness and sustainability. Greater coordination and investments are needed from local, state, and federal agencies to implement, evaluate, and sustain CVI programs to make communities safer for the next generation and beyond.

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Nick Wilson

Senior Director, Gun Violence Prevention

Arnitta R. Holliman

Director, Gun Violence Prevention

Chandler Hall

Senior Policy Analyst


Matthew Gossage

Events Video Producer

Hai-Lam Phan

Senior Director, Creative

Toni Pandolfo

Video Producer, Production

Andrew Sonntag

Former Events Video Producer


Gun Violence Prevention

Our goal is to reduce gun violence by enacting strong gun laws, increasing investment in local solutions, and growing the movement dedicated to this mission.

Explore The Series

Photo shows a young man lighting a candle in the late evening

In America, gunshots rattle communities every 11 minutes. Amid this cycle of tragedy, community violence intervention (CVI) programs are addressing the root causes of violence to end cycles before they can start.

Through collaboration with residents and government officials, CVI programs curb the spread of gun violence by meeting community members where they are and responding to their individual needs. In violence-affected neighborhoods, residents are grappling with trauma and long-standing hardships that fuel the rise in shootings. But CVI programs channel resources back into the community, improving access to needed resources such as education, employment, housing, and health care.

In a nation haunted by the daily occurrence of gun violence, CVI programs provide a path forward—toward healing, unity, and a safer future for everyone.

This series highlights resources on CVI programs and stories from the voices of change on the front lines of America’s gun violence epidemic. These narratives are a reminder of the challenges and successes that outline the effort to save more lives.


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