D.C. Might Pay People to Not Commit Crime
You know the old saying, "crime doesn't pay," but did you know that there could come a time when you get paid to not commit crime? A bill under consideration in Washington D.C. proposes to provide stipends to 50 people annually to learn life skills and avoid crime.
The proposal is not the first of its kind. The D.C. proposal is modeled on an existent program and would create a new office to identify individuals "who pose a high risk of participating in or being a victim of violent criminal activity," reports The New York Times.
Reducing Richmond Murder Rates
Such a program is already in place in Richmond, California. It is credited with a substantial drop in gun-related murders. There are 68 graduates of the California program, and it is apparently most popular among participants for reasons other than money.
Successful participants reportedly go on adventures, and this more than the stipends motivates people. They are eligible for "horizon-building educational excursions" that could even mean traveling internationally to London, Paris, or South Africa, the NY Times reports.
According to the Richmond program creator and director, DeVone L. Boggan, the challenge lies in getting along with an old foe. Not everyone will go beyond California -- some just see a state college campus. To be sent abroad they must travel with a companion they might have once tried to kill.
"And oftentimes," Boggan told the NY Times, "what they find out through the experience is that they actually like the guys that they've been trying to kill better than the guys they've been hanging out with."
How Are Participants Targeted?
It is fair to wonder how precisely these individuals -- crime victims and likely perpetrators -- are targeted. There is no mention of the selection or screening process in the NY Times story and perhaps the proposed Washington D.C. bill. That may be because the obstacles facing creation of this program are more basic.
For now what is known is that it seems to have widespread legislative support but how to pay for it remains a mystery. The district's chief financial officer, Jeffrey S. DeWitt, has reportedly raised questions about the total crime-prevention bill under consideration now, estimating its cost over 4 years at $25.6 million, which he says is too steep under current budget constraints.
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