Apparently, it takes more than inherent morality to keep citizens from shooting each other in San Francisco, as the city is now offering to pay up to $500 to citizens that vow not to shoot each other. This sort of incentive is considered a “proactive” incentive, in other words, an attempt to stop crime before it happens (as opposed to reactive incentives: punishing the perpetrator after the crime has already happened). San Francisco hopes that this financial incentive will encourage folks to put down their firearms and resolve disputes with non-violent means, like openly communicating with each other and debate. The city seems to have seen an astronomical increase in tension and gun violence, along with a large percentage of the country. However, San Francisco itself has seen a 100% increase in crime this year in comparison to the previous year.
The new program, entitled the “Dream Keeper Fellowship,” will launch in October of this year. The goal is for the city to work with ten individuals “at-risk” of potentially wanting to shoot at other people (or who knows, at each other) and have them promise to act peacefully and serve as “public ambassadors.” This will earn them a $300 check. This payment could very well jump to as much as $500 if the individuals fulfill other (perhaps more difficult) goals, such as visiting their parole officers and other benchmarks. This money, of course, is being sourced from local taxpayers and will, inevitably keep taxpayers safe and worry-free about potential gun violence in the streets. The program, in its pilot stage, will also receive funds from private donors and, assuming the program goes well, from Federal grants. The Dream Keeper Fellowship is commandeered by the Human Rights Commission and Office of Economic and Workforce Development and receives additional funding from a city-run program called the Dream Keeper Initiative.
The main criticism of this program is “Wouldn’t the city just be funding criminals?” However, there’s a little bit more to the method behind the madness. San Francisco Mayor London Breed stated “These folks do not have any sort of income. And so part of what we’re trying to do is make sure that money is not a barrier to turning your life around.” The main source of crime appears to be high poverty levels; with little money, and fewer ways to turn their lives around, people resort to crimes to secure financial relief, which could resort in violence and death. San Francisco is operating with the belief that if the citizens receive money in their poverty-ridden states, they will be less likely to feel the need to resort to crime to make ends meet. Mayor London Breed continues her previous quote with “We’re looking for ways to provide incentives to make sure that they are actively engaged in seeing their parole and probation officers… The data shows that when you provide people with opportunities, that could change somebody’s life.”