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Gang intervention during COVID-19: A qualitative study of multidisciplinary teams and street outreach in Denver

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 84 Dated: January-February 2023 Pages: 102030
Date Published

The current study examined how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the forms and functions of the Gang Reduction Initiative of Denver (GRID).


While GRID coordinates many strategies and collaborates with government and community groups across Denver, its centerpiece intervention entails multidisciplinary teams and street outreach, the focus of this qualitative study. The authors draw on 197 hours of field-based observation and 19 semi-structured interviews gathered as part of an evaluation of this intervention—initiated prior to the pandemic—to arrive at three key conclusions on the impact of COVID-19. First, upper-level administrative support can be a critical factor in agency efficacy and morale. City government's tenuous familiarity and ties with GRID was consequential to non-essential classification at the early stage of the pandemic. Second, agency leaders are crucial advocates for their agency, as GRID navigated many challenges without stable leadership and suffered as a result. Finally, interagency collaboration and relationships are slow to develop and easy to lose, made even more fragile in times of crisis. The authors discuss these findings in the context of large-scale federal investment in community violence intervention. (Published abstract provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2023