To address an increase in violent crime within the District, the D.C. Council recently unanimously approved a bill that includes a proposal to pay residents and some youth a stipend to not to commit crimes.
The bill is now headed to the mayor’s office for consideration. Sponsored by Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie (D-Ward 5), the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Amendment Act of 2016 (or NEAR Act), hopes to discourage recidivism, while providing behavioral therapy.
While many residents agree that something innovative must be instituted to curb violent crimes, offering stipends remains a sticking point for many. “I want to prevent violent crime – particularly gun violence – by addressing the root causes and creating opportunities for people, particularly those individuals who are at the highest risks of offending,” McDuffie, a former prosecutor, said in a statement following the vote. “Implementing the NEAR Act means effective and sustainable crime prevention for District residents, as one homicide in the District is one too many. We know that we cannot simply arrest our way out of crime; prevention is key. This comprehensive bill is a step in the right direction.”
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