In an attempt to reduce violent crime, San Francisco, California, will launch a program that will pay people $300 a month if they don’t shoot someone.
Fox News reported that the program, called 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.” This means that people at high risk of being shot also qualify for the program, though it’s unclear how the determination is made. The program will launch in October.
Sheryl Davis, executive director of the Human Rights Commission, told Newsweek that the program is not “transactional,” as it may seem.
“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,” she told the outlet.
Participants will be paired with life coaches from the city’s Street Violence Intervention Program and will be considered “community ambassadors” who work to prevent violence. They will work on their professional, personal, and community development and will be thought of as “partners” in engaging community members and decreasing violence.
Davis said the program will attempt to find the “root causes” of violence, which she said in “so many ways are economic.”
This sentiment was echoed by San Francisco Mayor 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, according to The Telegraph.
Participants in the program can earn even more money by getting a job, going to school, or even mediating situations that may lead to violence. In other words, the program will pay people to do things they should be doing anyway. What happens if and when that money stops? Will the people continue to work or follow the law? Will they need to be paid this way forever?
Newsweek reported that the program in San Francisco is based on a similar one in Richmond, California, which the American Journal of Public Health said helped reduce gun homicide by 55%. That claim is so odd that even left-wing Mother Jones questioned whether paying people not to shoot others actually reduced crime or whether the city just got lucky.
The Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso noted that a similar program was also tried in Sacramento, “where 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.”
Activist and Reverend Eugene Rivers, another critic of the program, 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.”