You know the old adage “Crime doesn’t pay?” Well, the state of California is adding an interesting twist to that. They have instituted a new plan to reduce violent crime in San Francisco, California. They will pay people $300 a month if they don’t shoot someone.
It was reported by Fox News that the program, which is called the Dream Keeper Fellowship, “will pay 10 individuals who are at high risk of being on either end of a shooting $300 each month to not be involved in such crimes.” So if you are at high risk of shooting someone, or if you are at high risk of being shot at, you may qualify for this payout. The program will launch in October, but it is still unclear just how the determination of candidates will be made.
Sheryl Davis, the executive director of the Human Rights Commission, spoke to Newsweek saying that the program is not “transactional.”
“It’s not necessarily as cut and dry as folks may think. It’s not as transactional as, ‘Here’s a few dollars so that you don’t do something bad,’ but it really is about how you help us improve public safety in the neighborhood,” Davis told Newsweek.
The article in the magazine explained that participants will be paired with life coaches who work at San Francisco’s Street Violence Intervention Program. The participants will serve as “community ambassadors” to prevent violence. The coaches will help each individual work on their professional, personal, and community development and will be thought of as “partners” in engaging community members and decreasing violence.
Davis maintains that the program will try to find the “root causes” of violence, which she explains “in so many ways are economic.”
The pilot — which starts in October and plans to expand to around 75 people a year — is part of the mayor’s two-year initiative to invest $120 million into the city’s black community.
Davis has been encouraged by the Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed. “In many cases, sadly, the common denominator is that these folks do not have any sort of income. And so part of what we’re trying to do is make sure that money is not a barrier to turning your life around,” Breed said.
Those who join the program can earn more money by getting a job, going to school, or being willing to mediate other situations that could end in violence.
Those critical of the program wonder what is going to happen when the money stops. Will the people continue to work or follow the law? Will they need to be paid this way forever?
San Francisco is not the first city to attempt this kind of program. The Dream Keeper Fellowship was based on a similar one in Richmond, California. The American Journal of Public Health has indicated that it aided in reducing gun homicide by 55%. But even some outlets from the left have questioned whether the program actually caused the decrease in violent crime or if the city just got lucky.
David Freddoso of The Washington Examiner wrote about a similar program that was attempted in Sacramento. He said that its promoters “boast that ‘only’ 44% of participants were subsequently arrested on new charges — well, as long as you don’t count about one-third of the participants who dropped out or were arrested in its first six months.”
Another critic of the program, Rev. Eugene Rivers, told Fox News that the program was a “gimmick.”
“You do not get young people to turn from crime by generating gimmicks. This is a policy gimmick,” he said. “It’s a bad idea, it’s not a new idea and for many people, it’ll be Christmas in September or October.”