Damn Dumb Ideas: Paying people for not committing crimes

Another random thought which I had sometime ago. I had woken up from a dream where I saw police apprehending a man for committing a crime and I thought to myself, “what if we got paid for not committing crimes?” I woke up with that thought in my head, saved it on my phone and tooday I decided that it should be the topic for my blog.

Would people be less inclined to do something bad if they were paid to not do it? Just think about it for a moment.
Crimes are usually committed by people who can’t obtain what they want through legal means. What do people usually need? Money. Now I know it’s not that simple, and not all people commit crimes for money – but it does target the group of criminals who do need money, and will thus reduce the amount of crime we face in society. If they have money they won’t commit any more crimes right?

Okay, let’s just say we put this rule into effect. There are many more variables to consider.

Who is eligible for this scheme? Are rich people exempt from this plan? Should it be only given to homeless criminals or those who are out of jobs? How do we decide who gets the money?

How much money should they receive for committing a crime? Is it relative to what they were going to earn by committing the crime?

How much of the crime must they execute before being paid? Do thoughts of robbing a bank count as criminal activity? How about talking about it? Or do they need to put their plans in motion and be caught by the police before they get paid? What if they don’t get caught?

How often will these criminals get paid? Are they supposed to resume committing crimes or will they be eligible for payments only once a year?

After asking myself these questions, it doesn’t seem like such a great idea anymore. I guess dreams don’t always make sense.

Maybe if we had some way of knowing what people are going to do (think precogs in Minority Report), we could implement such a system…I give up. Anybody have an idea on how such a system could work? I’d like to see how this dumb thought could be improved!

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