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Group Violence Interventions provides safe space for people affected by gun violence

February 3, 2021

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The COVID-19 pandemic halted the Group Violence Intervention team in Kalamazoo for a bit, but the group has a new approach.

The intervention team has been instrumental to alerting police and catching suspects involved in gun violence crimes in Kalamazoo. In 2020 Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety reported more than 70 shootings, including 10 that were deadly.

The team created the War Room to get to the bottom of gun violence and create a safe space for people to speak up.

“When people come in this room, we want them to see the pain and we want them to see the fear, but we also want them to see the triumph in our city,” Group Violence Intervention Coordinator Michael Wilder said.

The small space has a big goal of ending gang wars in Kalamazoo.

A team of four men from the Group Violence Intervention team are on the frontlines.

“I’ve had enough of the double tragedy. I think if we want to be in front of it and be an intervention, we have to be boots on the ground and knees on the ground. We have to be willing to come out and sit with actual shooters,” said Wilder.

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