The Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) is a multi-agency and community collaborative effort designed to quickly and dramatically reduce gun violence-related homicides, in an effort to sustain reductions of these incidents over time within the City of Youngstown. The initiative is a focused-deterrence strategy that is modeled after the Boston Gun Project from the mid-1990s.
A partnership among multiple law enforcement agencies (local, state and federal), social service providers and the community has been established to deliver a clear message to violent street groups: the violence must stop. This message is communicated through a number of different mechanisms, including call-in sessions with probationers and parolees; direct contact through street workers (street advocates), police, probation, and parole officers; community outreach; and media outlets.
Law enforcement agencies have gathered intelligence on violent street group networks, and consequences will be delivered to the street groups that continue to engage in violence. Those offenders seeking a more productive lifestyle are provided streamlined social services, training, education, and employment opportunities. The community and law enforcement agencies are working as partners and as a result, strengthening their relationship.
William "Guy" Burney
William “Guy” Burney serves as the Executive Director of the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence for the City of Youngstown. The Community Initiative to Reduce Violence, better known as (C.I.R.V.), is a partnership of law enforcement, social service agencies, and the community to reduce violence in the city. Their mission is to create an effective delivery system to offer individuals a circle of support enabling them to choose a non-violent path in life. Guy also serves as the founder and CEO of Thrive Development, an umbrella company that specializes in teaching and development.
"Never give up, and be confident in what you do. There may be tough times, but the difficulties which you face will make you more determined to achieve your objectives and to win against all the odds."
While at the helm of C.I.R.V., Burney’s accomplishments have been vast. He has hosted preventative interventions with hundreds of young men who have previously been involved in gun related violence. He founded The Hope Conference, an annual event hosted at Youngstown State University, which assists returning citizens in maintaining a life free of crime. He was instrumental in creating The Women of Worth Academy, a program which provides women with barriers a pathway to self-sustainable and successful living. He has also been involved in bringing The Fatherhood Initiative, a nation-wide movement that educates men on how to be better fathers to their children, to the City of Youngstown. Most notably, since the inception of the C.I.R.V. program in 2012, the violent crime repeated in in the city has dropped by an unprecedented 30 percent, a statistic that can be largely attributed to many of the efforts C.I.R.V. has spearheaded.
During his 20 plus year career, he has also had the distinct privilege of working with law enforcement, youth organizations, businesses, students, parents, and churches. In addition, he has served as a training consultant for the following organizations: The Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management, “ON TASC,” Incorporated, and C.T.A.G. (Closing the Achievement Gap).
Throughout the State of Ohio, Burney has also held several leadership positions. He has served on The Governor’s Initiative to Increase the Graduation Rate for African American Males. In addition, he dedicates his time and talents locally. He currently serves on the Community Corrections Association governing board, the YMCA central advisory board, the Youngstown State University internal review board and the Northern Ohio Violent Crime Consortium Operations subcommittee.
Burney lives in Liberty, Ohio with his proudest accomplishment, his family. He has been married for 14 years to his beautiful wife Mrs. Valerie Burney. They have four wonderful children William 10, Nia 8, Jonathan 4, and Joshua 21 months.