This past year, a model for treating violence as a disease that proved successful in Richmond, California spread to Toledo, Ohio, and Oakland, California— showing it could be a replicable, long-term solution for minimizing violence in American cities.
In 2007, Richmond, California was one of the deadliest places in the US, with a murder rate of 45.9 per 100,000 residents. But things changed quickly: Reports indicate that in 2014, there were just just 11 homicides per 100,000 residents, or a 76% decrease.
This victory has been largely credited to Richmond's Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS), which homes in on the 50 young men in the community that are most likely to get violent and mentors them. Then comes an offer: You'll get a stipend if you promise to stay away from violence.
These are "the most lethal (or potentially lethal) young men in our city," ONS head Devone Boggan tells Tech Insider. "Young men that we believe will be involved as a shooter or a victim of gunfire within a 6 to 12 month period."
The "fellows," as they're called, make up a "life map" of what they'd like to do with their lives, and work with the ONS team to realize those ambitions.
The crucial mechanism at work here is that instead of treating violence as a monster to be slayed, ONS looks at it as a disease to be treated. Instead of having men locked away, the organization heals them.