NEW YORK –Imagine a New York City where perpetrators of gun violence could be convinced to put down the heat, befriend their enemies - and lead a productive life.
"Every day we promise these young men that they will be engaged, multiple times a day, by multiple people, where they are," community service director Devone Boggan said. " "We're asking them to come to us."
That paradigm already exists - in Richmond, California. A town of 100,000 people, where Boggan took a novel approach to making the streets safer.
"We've got to do something dramatically different," Boggan said.
In 2010, Boggan and his team hit the streets, and began reaching out directly to the so called bad guys.
He worked intensely with them, traveled with the guys, showed them the path to turning their life around.
But he didn’t stop there. He also offered them cash - up to $1,000 a month - as an incentive to remain out of trouble - and in his program.
It’s been tremendously successful in Richmond, and Washington D.C.’s local lawmakers have already adopted the program.
Ricmond has experienced, between 2007 and 2014, a 76 percent reduction in firearm-related homicides and 66 percent reduction in firearm-related assaults, according to Boggan.
But what about New York City - with a population pushing 8.5 million?
A 2013 New York City Independent Budget Office study found each inmate in the jail population costs almost $168,000 per year.
"I've had the experience of being incarcerated, and know the importance of having social supports," Mikhail Deveaux, a former inmate said.
Mikhail Deveaux spent twenty five years in prison on a murder conviction. He believes in the Big Apple, pinpointing a neighborhood’s troublemakers, is just a beginning.
"The wider the social gap, between the haves and have nots, the more pervasive that a lot of these social problems were," Deveaux said. "So if we're able to shrink the gap, the socioeconomic gap between the haves and have nots, that in itself will have an impact on crime."
Still, Devone Boggan is convinced his model - using the right combination of time, support, and money has a shot at replacing guns with success.
"I think our first cohort, the stipend was the most attractive element of our fellowship," Boggan said. "And yes, we're battling a thousand right. It's tough work preparing men to take this leap. This is a major leap."
Boggan has also written $1 check.