Advance Peace, a Richmond, California-based organization which pays young men to avoid involvement in shootings, said what they are doing is working and it is saving taxpayers money.
Between 2018 and 2019, Advance Peace had nearly 200 Peacemaker Fellows. The organization noted that:
- 99 percent are alive
- 95 percent don’t have any new firearm related injuries
- 89 percent are not suspect in new firearm-related crimes
Advance Peace manages the Operation Peacemaker Fellowship, which pays young men, known as Fellows, who are more likely to become involved in shootings as the shooter, up to $1,000 a month for 13 months of the 18 months they are enrolled in the program if they stay out of trouble. Fellows are also paid based on their commitment to Operation Peacemaker.
Once a young man becomes a Fellow, Advance Peace provides human, social and economic opportunities to them, understanding that they are traditionally isolated from those services because of their life circumstances. The services offered include life coaching, mentoring, multiple daily contacts and travel opportunities.
Fellows travel to other states and outside the country. Some traveled to Robben Island in Cape Town, South Africa, where Nelson Mandela was held a political prisoner for 27 years. Travel is designed to open the Fellows’ eyes to new worlds.
In 2019, these Peacemaker Fellowship results translated to 53 total firearm related incidents of which 15 were fatal, the lowest rate of these incidents in five decades in Richmond, California, once labeled one of the country’s most-dangerous cities.
Stockton, California Mayor Michael Tubbs praised the program, which was approved in a 6-1 vote by the city council. Mayor Tubbs is one of the nation’s most-innovative mayors.
Advance Peace claims taxpayers foot the bill for a homicide or non-fatal gun violence at rate of more $229 billion a year or nearly $400,000 for a single shooting.
DeVone Boggan, CEO of Advance Peace, said the organization still has a lot of work to do in 2020.
“The neighborhoods that Advance Peace works within have been plagued for decades with disproportionate levels of poverty and violence, while experiencing disinvestment and institutional discrimination,” said Boggan.