For over a year, the city of Richmond, California has been conducting a rather controversial experiment. The city’s Office of Neighborhood Safety has been looking for teenagers and young adults who have the highest risk of being involved in violent crimes. Then they just pay them to not commit crimes.
Usually they receive between $300 and $1000 a month for 18 months if they stay out of trouble. They have to take on an ex-convict mentor, and if they follow through on goals like getting a GED and or job training, they receive more money. Since the murder rate in Richmond has fallen in recent years (for a variety of reasons) other cities are starting to consider the program.
Miami, Toledo, and Baltimore are among dozens of cities that are trying to decide if they should replicate the program. Washington DC is the closest to giving it a try. Earlier this month their city council unanimously approved the idea, and they believe that it is the best response to the wave of violence that hit their city (and many others) last year. The city is going to move money out of other law enforcement programs to pay for it.
Regardless of whether or not it is successful, one must wonder if it would be wise to replicate this program on a wider scale. Paying criminals to not commit crimes is certainly counter-intuitive, and sounds like it would be vulnerable to abuse from savvy criminals. After all, the Romans were known to pay off their barbarian neighbors, and that worked pretty well. For a while anyway.
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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .