The mayor of one California city rife with violent crime is exploring some unique and controversial methods to address potential criminals before they hurt or kill others.
Dozens of cities are looking into the program, which is called Advance Peace, as a possible solution to increased homicides and gun-related crimes.
In a recent interview on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs explained why his city will be the first to initiate a program that would give those deemed at high risk to commit a violent crime access to a diversionary program.
Paying shooters? Liberal CA mayor wants to give money to people deemed ‘most likely to shoot somebody’ pic.twitter.com/509oQ9Pr61
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If successful in the program, individuals enrolled in Advance Peace would be eligible for a stipend meant to keep them on the straight and narrow.
“The money happens after six months of intensive case management,” Tubbs said in response to critics who describe the program as little more than a bribe to potential criminals.
He also defended the program on the fiscal front, noting the financial cost associated with violent crime.
“We’re paying $400,000 a year as cities for every homicide and every shooting, not even measuring the amount of trauma,” he said.
Tubbs went on to explain that payments are only “a part” of the Advance Peace program.
“It’s also intensive case management,” he said. “It’s cognitive behavior therapy, so helping you with trauma. It’s transformative travel.”
The biggest selling point, according to Tubbs and other supporters, is the ongoing counseling required to complete the program.
“The crux is the relationship,” he said. “It’s seven days a week communication and it’s also life mapping. It’s sitting down with your coach and figuring out how do they get from A to B.”
Even after completion, Tubbs said Advance Peace does not provide a stipend free and clear.
“It’s a fellowship, so you don’t just get it,” the Democratic mayor said. “That actually comes with strings. You do have to do things for it, so it’s almost like a job.”
Tubbs cited poverty as Stockton’s most pressing issue, which he said feeds the city’s crime problem.
Advance Peace is part of “a long- and short-term approach” to the issue, which he said includes other programs including a basic universal income and increased access to free college tuition.
In his State of the City address last week, Tubbs cited these social programs among his perceived successes as mayor.
He celebrated “the sheer amount of work we’ve done in the last 18 months — from the programs we’re launching, from the basic guaranteed income demonstration, to Advance Peace, to the Stockton Scholars scholarship” in the speech.
While some city leaders agree with Chamber of Commerce President Diane Vigil, who applauded “this energy like things are moving and things are changing,” others believe the tide is shifting in the wrong direction.
Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones has publicly expressed “fundamental objections” to Advance Peace, describing it as paying people “just to (not) commit crimes or shoot people.”
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