• Search

San Francisco Program Pays Criminals Up To $500 Per Month To Not Shoot People

San Francisco, CA – San Francisco residents identified as being “high-risk” for involvement in gun violence could soon receive as much as $500 for every month they manage not to shoot anyone.

“Six thousand dollars per person, when you look at it annually, is nothing if it helps deter criminal activity compared to the amount of money it costs to incarcerate someone, let alone the impact of the activity itself,” Human Rights Commission Executive Director Sheryl Davis told the San Francisco Examiner.

The San Francisco Human Rights Commission and Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s Dream Keeper Fellowship pilot program, which launches in October, will start out with 10 participants who have been determined to be high-risk for shooting someone or for being shot, according to FOX News.

That number will be increased to at least 40 participants by the end of 2020, with an ultimate goal of 75 people per year, the San Francisco Examiner reported.

For each month they successfully avoid pulling the trigger or being hit by someone else’s bullet, they’ll receive $300.

San Francisco’s Street Violence Intervention Program life coaches will be paired up with each participant with the goal of helping those people to become “community ambassadors,” Davis told FOX News.

If participants get a job, go to school, meet with their probation officer, or act as mediators in a potentially violent situation, they can earn another $200 per month.

“It’s not necessarily as cut and dry as folks may think,” Davis claimed. “It’s not as transactional as, ‘Here’s a few dollars so that you don’t do something bad,’ but it really is about how you help us improve public safety in the neighborhood.”

Mayor London Breed has thrown her support behind the program, noting that people should be paid for participating in free programs established to help them better themselves.

“My desire is to get to them, not to just make an arrest, but to get to them and to try and figure out if they would be willing to work with us on something that is an alternative,” Breed said last month, according to FOX News. “We can’t just put them in a program without making sure that they have money, without making sure that they have something to take care of themselves.”

Davis said that $500 per month isn’t even that much money in San Francisco, the San Francisco Examiner reported.

“But if it’s enough to get you in to talk to folks, and be able to make a plan for your life, then that’s huge,” she declared.

When a similar program was implemented in Richmond, California, gun crimes actually increased, FOX News reported.

Despite the uptick, the number of people fatally shot decreased by 55 percent, according to a 2019 study.

Proponents also claimed the program worked in Sacramento, where a whopping 44 percent of participants ended up being arrested on new charges, not including the 33 percent of participants who were arrested or dropped out during the first six months, the Washington Examiner reported.

About 29 percent of the payees who participated in a similar program in Stockton, California ended up being arrested on new gun charges, according to the news outlet.

California is also pushing to become the first state to dole out hundreds of dollars to drug addicts as an incentive to maintain sobriety, FOX News reported.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has even called on the federal government to allow him to use taxpayer dollars to fund the program through Medicaid.

The California Senate already passed a similar bill, FOX News reported.

San Francisco has also implemented similar guaranteed-income programs for struggling artists and pregnant women living in marginalized communities, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


Sign up to our daily newsletter so you don't miss out on the latest events surrounding law enforcement!

Follow Me

Follow us on social media and be sure to mark us as "See First."