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Controversial Program to End Violent Crime Being Discussed By Stockton City Council

STOCKTON (CBS13) - Violent crime continues to have a huge impact on many families living in Stockton, and the city council will be focused on trying to fix the problem.

The controversial program Advance Peace is on the agenda, with both supporters and opponents preparing to voice their opinions on the crime-reduction program.

Bishop Rufus Turner is a product of Richmond, California, a city where Advance Peace was first introduced.

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"I think it's a wonderful program," he said.

And it's the subject Stockton City Council members will be discussing as they consider a resolution supporting a four-year partnership with the crime-reduction program.

"Every time I hear of a homicide, it cuts through the core," said Turner.

On Monday, Turner and other community leaders gathered at city hall to support Mayor Michael Tubbs and his efforts to bring the program to Stockton.

"It's complementary to the stuff we're already doing. I understand there's nothing that's a magic wand, but I think it adds many tools to the toolkit," said Tubbs.

In 2017, Stockton experienced 55 homicides and 49 in the previous three years, but nothing compares to the 71 homicides the city saw in 2012.

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"What makes this program so controversial is the notion that violent criminals suspected of heinous shootings and heinous crimes will be getting rewarded in a sense or paid to change their behavior," said Motecuzoma Sanchez, a community activist.

Participants are eligible for a cash stipend – up to $700 – only after they complete certain parts of the program. Opponents say the money should be used to help close unsolved homicides.

"I would definitely say this is a bad thing for Stockton when you take into account the fact that we are already paying higher taxes to have cease fire, the office of violence prevention, the Marshall plan, additional officers, and none of those have worked over the last four years," said Sanchez.

Advance Peace will include intense case management and support for participants. Mayor Tubbs has already secured funding for it. If the council approves Tuesday's resolution, the next step will be finding the staff to run the program.

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