In an attempt to combat the rising gun violence in Sacramento, the city council has voted to pay gang members $1.5 million to stop killing people.
The decision was part of the “Advance Peace” initiative, a program that started in Richmond, CA. The vote was scheduled to take place later this month, but was moved upwards after five people were shot on Sunday, August 27th. One of the victims died.
“If we don’t try something different, we’re gonna continue to see these patterns,” says Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who insists the program be put into place as soon as possible. “Five people were shot in Meadowview on Sunday. Let’s get going on doing everything we can to save innocent lives.”
The city council’s vote was unanimous, but the details of the contract have yet to be finalized.
As it stands, 50 people believed to be responsible for the majority of the city’s gun violence (i.e. gang members) will receive cash rewards for graduating school and staying out of trouble. If they decide to start killing people again, they will forfeit their taxpayer-funded stipend.
Critics are skeptical the plan will lead to a decrease in violence.
“I support the gang prevention task force and the many evidence-based youth mentoring and intervention programs already in existence in the city of Sacramento,” says Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. “I have serious concerns with a program that is apparently based upon the payment of money to high-risk individuals in exchange for a promise not to engage in violent criminal conduct. There is insufficient evidence-based data to show this approach is effective in preventing gun violence.”
“I have fundamental objections to this program,” admits Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones. “I am against significant taxpayer funding being paid to people just to NOT commit crimes or shoot people. They do not engage in law enforcement at all, and I have been told that if they become aware of one of the participants committing a crime, they will NOT notify law enforcement.”
As we wrote in a previous article, Washington, DC is considering a similar program.
“I’m very skeptical…I think it’s frankly an awful idea and I think the policy makers have things backwards,” says Tim Lynch, director of the project of criminal justice at the Cato Institute. “If they have any money, I think it should be spent at the other end of the spectrum for people who are getting out of prison, and that is where the government tends to be very stingy.”
On top of that is the problem of subsidization.
Whatever you subsidize, you get more of; i.e. if you pay off criminals you get more criminals.
This is a stupid idea. Sacramento is voluntarily agreeing to be extorted by criminals. The money might be enough to stop those 50 gang members from shooting anyone else, but it will also convince more people to be violent in order to get on the list. Sacramento will have violent criminals flocking to the city because that’s where the money is.
Editor’s note: Never underestimate the stupidity of your elected officials.