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Program in Richmond helping to deter gun violence

There are some people in the state who believe that incarceration is the only way to deter someone from committing a crime because it presents a person with a harsh situation they likely do not want to encounter again. Others disagree and believe that rehabilitation is the answer because it gives a person a chance to make up for their mistakes in a less severe environment.

Really, both methods boil down to one question: if you could prevent a crime from happening, would you act on it? That’s what one program in Richmond is doing; and as far as a lot of people can tell, the program’s unique way of addressing crimes such as gun violence seems to be working better than either method.

Weapons crimes such as shootings happen in cities across the nation. But after decades of strict law enforcement across California, authorities reached out in 2007 to a mentoring consultant for help. That in turn led to the creation of the Office of Neighborhood Safety, or ONS for short. Funded by the city of Richmond and private donations, the mentorship program reaches out to at-risk people, providing them with guidance in order to deter criminal acts.

Since the program began, homicide rates in Richmond have dropped considerably. Data suggests that in 2009 there were 45 homicides. So far this year, there have only been seven. But the program’s lead mentor has not been quick to claim all of the credit. He says it’s the participants who choose to avoid potential crimes and it’s their hard work that is paying off.


The Independent, “How to reduce gun crime in California? Why not pay people not to shoot each other?” Tim Walker, July 5, 2014

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Former Criminal Prosecutor With Proven Results