The people who believe that this is the way to stop crime are the same people who believe crime is caused by social conditions, rather than personal choices, and sadly, the only result, over time, will be an increase in the money demanded and an increase in the type of crime needed to join the cash for criminal’s cohort.

An excerpt from the article in the New York Times promoting the program.

Richmond, Calif. — IN 2007, this city of about 100,000 people, north of Berkeley, had the dubious distinction of being the ninth most dangerous in America. That year saw a total of 47 homicides. In some neighborhoods, gunfire was almost a daily event.

At one point, the City Council considered asking the governor to declare a state of emergency and send in the National Guard. Instead, in 2007, the city created the Office of Neighborhood Safety. (I am the founding director.) Our mission was simple: to tackle this epidemic of gun violence that was killing so many young men, mostly in our minority communities.

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.

The young people on the streets saw Ceasefire as a police initiative and little more. These were the young men who became our clients, those whom we’d identified as especially at risk — either of being a shooter or of being shot.

This was easier than you might think.

A police liaison officer told us this startling fact: An estimated 70 percent of shootings and homicides in Richmond in 2009 were caused by just 17 individuals, primarily African-American and Hispanic-American men between the ages of 16 and 25.

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.

Retrieved July 6, 2015 from