Last December we reported that a groundbreaking new program had reduced firearm-related homicides in Richmond, Ca., by 76 percent since 2007, all without restricting Second Amendment rights. Other cities have noticed the program’s effectiveness, and this month the Sacramento City Council approved a $1.5 million investment in the same strategy.
The program will be directed by an organization known as Advance Peace, whose founder, DeVone Boggan, spearheaded the model that saw so much success in Richmond.
The program targets the small percentage of city residents that commit the majority of gun-related crimes and offers them the chance to turn their lives around.
“We’re trying to get them to dream, to hope, to go from a place of ‘I don’t give a fuck’ to a place where ‘Maybe I do,’” DeVone Boggan told FastCoexist.com last year. “Because the moment you start to give a damn, you start to make decisions that are healthier about how you handle the conflicts you’re negotiating every day.”
In Sacramento, only about 50 young men commit the majority of shootings, according to Khaalid Muttaqi, director of the city’s Gang Prevention and Intervention Task Force.
Advance Peace will reach out to these individuals and offer them help with education, career development, anger management, parenting, medical health, and spirituality.
There’s also a monetary incentive: if participants stay in the system and complete the required tasks, they will receive $1,000 per month for 9 months of the 18-month program. This strategy is sometimes described as “paying people not to commit crimes,” and Sacramento residents have wondered why 1.5 million taxpayer dollars will be handed out to these individuals.
But the program has proven to be effective, and according to Muttaqi, the estimated government cost of every homicide is more than $1 million, which includes the cost of investigation, prosecution and years of incarceration.
Sacramento has also seen a rise in gun-related violence over the last several years, and its leadership is looking for a solution.
“The need is there, the program has shown results and our community can’t wait. The time is now for action to address gun violence,” said Vice Mayor Rick Jennings who also chairs the task force.
The problem is “bigger than we would like it to be and it’s going in the wrong direction,” added Muttaqi. “We’ve had an uptick of about 38 percent in the last couple of years in gun-related violence.”
Other cities including Washington, D.C., San Jose, Oakland, and Toledo, Ohio, have adopted Advance Peace’s model. Baltimore and Gary, Indiana, have plans to do the same.