No Mayor Breed, Cash for Criminals did not lower homicide rates in Richmond, CA

Starting October, committing a crime could be like winning a prize in San Francisco

Starting this October, San Francisco Mayor London Breed will officially launch the “Dream Keeper Fellowship.” More commonly known as “cash for criminals.” The money will come from $60 million in tax revenue that has been earmarked exclusively for San Francisco’s “African American community.”

“At-risk individuals” will be selected to receive $300 cash, plus up to $200 in gift cards each month. All they have to do is obey current probations/parole rules, meet with a mentor, and not commit a major crime. The first ten winners will be selected in October.

Mayor London Breed says that funding needs to be directed away from the police department and into “communities of color.” By “communities of color,” she does not mean the 45% of residents who are Asian. The target audience is the 6% of San Francisco residents who are Black.

Breed alleges that a similar program was a huge success in Richmond, California. However, there is no evidence that it was a success.

For decades, Richmond had one of the highest murder rates in California. In 2007 the city launched the Office of Neighborhood Safety [ONS]. The ONS hired Black ex-cons as mentors to tutor young “at-risk” Blacks. There were incentives to participate in this mentoring.

While homicides rates in Richmond have declined since then, there is an entirely different reason.

The Black population of Richmond peaked at 44% in 1990. Since then, the number of Black residents has been declining. In 2000, the Black percentage was down to 36%. In 2010, it fell to 26%. Now, the city is only 20%, Black. Between 2000 and 2020, the population of Richmond grew from 99.2k to 110.5k, but the number of Black residents declined by about 38%.

Meanwhile, you can look at the local schools in Richmond and see very few young Blacks now. The local school district is 55% Latino, 16% Asian, 15% Black, 10% White, 4% Mixed.

Between 2007 and 2020, the homicide rate declined because the city had a rapidly shrinking and rapidly aging Black population. If you look at Gunmemorial for Richmond City, you will immediately see that a majority of the homicide victims are still Black. According to federal statistics, over 93% of all Black homicides are killed by a Black suspect. It is safe to say that Black on Black homicides are still the leading dynamic in Richmond homicides. There are just fewer of them now because fewer young Blacks are living in the city.

It is a city that has undergone significant changes in demographics and gentrification. Young Black males commit the highest homicide rate, and the town has fewer young Black males today than it did in 2007.

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