San Francisco is launching a pilot program in October that effectively pays people $300 a month not to commit gun crimes.
The goal of the program is to reduce gun violence across the city.
It will start with 10 people who want to change their lives and become community ambassadors. Participants will have to pass an interview.
"We're doing this to make sure that we don't have more senseless violence," said Sheryl Davis, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.
U.S. & World
The Human Rights Commission says the idea has shown to be a cost-effective way to reduce gun crimes in other cities. Oakland and Richmond have similar anti-violence programs.
The payments come in the form of gift cards, and the spending habits are tracked.
This program, the Dream Keeper Fellowship, focuses on neighborhoods disproportionally affected by violence to help improve public safety. At risk participants would go through an interview process, assessments and then become public safety ambassadors.
For all that, they'll be paid a few hundred dollars a month.
Critics have blasted the program, dubbing it cash for criminals, and said they are effectively paying people not to shoot other people.
David Muhammad with the National Institute of Criminal Justice Reform said that's not a fair description.
He said a similar program in Richmond led to steep declines in gun violence.
"Paying criminals to not shoot is an enticing headline, but it is a significantly inaccurate description of the program," he said. "The primary intervention is a positive and trusting relationship with an intensive life coach."
Oakland and Stockton have similar programs as well. All the programs are typically funded with combination of donations, state and federal grants and local dollars.