Pine Bluff’s Group Violence Intervention holds discussion aimed at tackling gun violence

Pine Bluff’s Group Violence Intervention holds discussion aimed at tackling gun violence

PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Pine Bluff’s Group Violence Intervention held a seminar discussion Monday to try to tackle gun violence and made headway on strategies for young people impacted by violence.

The group’s director Kevin Cumpton said it will take the majority of the community to work together to reduce gun violence and the incarceration of young people, but also work on the relationships between the police and the community.

“The primary purpose of GVI is to reduce gun violence so we are trying to cut it in half,” Crumpton said. “We are getting the community involved, law enforcement, social services to learn how to do call-ins and shooting reviews.”

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He said they focused on hot spots in the city, including one in particular.

“Over on the east side of town.” Crumpton adds, “We have had four homicides that’s been in a mile radius.”

Crumpton said they plan to reach out to the ones associated with gangs or have been involved in multiple shootings.

“We will send out a letter to them letting them know that we are going to have a meeting with those particular 82 individuals and letting them know that we won’t tolerate violence in our community,” Crumpton said.

Eric Walden Jr. is the assistant chief of staff for the 6th Division Circuit Court and he said he is involved with the group because he wants to help prevent young people from going to the streets seeking violence.

“From about 2017, 2018 we started to see an increase of gun violence with our youth,” he said.

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Judge Earnest Brown, the Circuit Judge for the Sixth Division of the 11th Judicial District West, is a member of the governor’s board bringing providers and community leaders to the table for GVI. They are also co-sponsoring the GVI University.

He said he hopes these sessions will change the narrative of Pine Bluff.

“In the cases I see a young person charged with a homicide facing life in prison, on the other end I see a family devastated by the loss,” Brown said.

Crumpton said GVI plans to have more talks with the community and inside schools as young as elementary.

“I think it has caused our young people to not want to live past the age of 25,” Crumpton said.

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He said they plan to have more events in the coming months.

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