zondag 5 juli 2015
Reducing gun violence by paying the perpetrators
To Stop Crime, Hand Over Cash tells the story of the Office of Neighborhood Safety that reduced gun violence and the murder rate in Richmond, California: We modeled our approach on “Cure Violence,” a community outreach program in Chicago founded by the epidemiologist Gary Slutkin. The Chicago project evolved from the Operation Ceasefire program begun in Boston in the mid-1990s, since replicated in scores of cities across America. Many of these were successful at reducing gun violence, but we felt that they were too law-enforcement-driven and lacked the social services to help the most vulnerable in our neighborhoods. We employed street-savvy staff members, whom we called neighborhood change agents. Think of their work as a kinder version of stop-and-frisk, more like stop-and-blend with the profile subjects, to build healthy, consistent relationships with those most likely to shoot or be a victim of gunfire. Once we’d identified the city’s potentially most lethal young men, we invited them to a meeting (the first was in 2010). Then came the big innovation of the Operation Peacemaker fellowship program. We offered those young men a partnership deal: We would pay them — yes, pay them — not to pull the trigger. The deal we offered was this: If they kept their commitment to us for six months — attended meetings, stayed out of trouble, responded to our mentoring — they became eligible to earn up to $1,000 a month for a maximum of nine months.