Monday, March 28, 2016

On today's "All Things Considered"

I heard two back-to-back stories on NPR driving home this evening: one I liked and one I really didn't like.

The first was "Amid ride-booking rivalries, many Cairo women turn to Uber for safe passage."  "In Cairo, taxi drivers are fighting the encroachment of ride-booking services like Uber. But many Egyptians, especially women, say they prefer Uber since they feel safer with the company's drivers."

The women describe the Cairo taxi drivers as lecherous, disrespectful, and downright cheats.  The Uber drivers, on the other hand, are trained on sexual harassment, honest, and deferential because they want a good rating.  Naturally, the taxi drivers want Uber outlawed in Egypt.

The second story was titled: "To Reduce Gun Violence, Potential Offenders Offered Support And Cash."  However, Zero Hedge has the more accurate title: "America Hits Rock Bottom: Cities Are Paying Criminals $1000 Per Month "Not To Kill"."  Basically, it's the story of Richmond, California (where else?) where a group of thugs are kept in weed money as long as they don't kill anyone.

Nice work if you can get it.


Anonymous said...

More Than Just 'Cash For Criminals'

This street outreach is just one part of a broader program designed by DeVone Boggan, the former director of a city department called the Office of Neighborhood Safety. Boggan was a community activist when he was first hired to do something about gun violence in 2007. Richmond had recorded 47 homicides that year.

"If you paid attention to media reports and the frequency of media reports about gun violence in Richmond, you would have believed that you were in Beirut," he says.

Boggan started the street outreach program in 2008 and saw immediate results. That year, there were 40 percent fewer homicides. But the number of murders climbed again in 2009.

Boggan then made a startling discovery in meetings with local law enforcement.

"What I continued to hear was folks believed that there were 17 people responsible for 70 percent of the firearm activity in our city. Seventeen people! We can do something about that," Boggan says.

Boggan and his team launched the Operation Peacemaker Fellowship. They identified those 17 people and several more and made them an offer. The fellowship will give them counseling, social services, a job and a chance to travel if they develop a "life map," agree to stay in contact every day and stay out of trouble. Then the fellowship will pay them up to a $1,000 a month for nine months.

Handguns sit in a glass display case at Metro Shooting Supplies in Bridgeton, Mo.


Guns In America, By The Numbers

The result: Richmond has seen its murder rate cut in half since the fellowship began.

Boggan says the street patrols are paid by the city while the cash stipends come from private donors. He chuckles when he says media reports have called his program "cash for criminals."

"If you believe that simply paying someone a stipend will reduce gun crimes in cities where gun crimes are long and loud, you're wrong. We've done something much, much more comprehensive than that," he says.

Just ask 18-year-old Joel Contreras. He's big like a high school linebacker and has a mouthful of gold caps on his teeth. He says about a year ago he wasn't living right. He was involved with guns, robberies and trouble. Contreras says when he was first offered a chance to change his life he turned it down.

"I walked away from him. Ten minutes later, I hit the corner. I get shot. The car got shot a couple times, me and my friend were both injured," Contreras says.

Contreras says he doesn't know who shot him in the back of the neck or why. But when the outreach workers came back to see him, Contreras says he was ready to listen.

"They helped me get a job. The helped me get my driver's license. They was pushing me, pushing me, helping me out. They helped me get back in school, which I wouldn't be able to do without them. I graduated high school thanks to them," he says.

Eric said...

Yeah, the link to the article will produce all that text.

Like the part where homicides doubled from 11 to 21. But, hey, good intentions.