Sam Vaughn


Community mentor Sam Vaughn recounts how a program offering radical interventions of love and support to the most violent young men has dramatically reduced the homicide rate in one of the most dangerous US cities.


Committed mentor for violence-prone youth in what was once one of the top ten most dangerous cities in the country, Sam Vaughn serves as a Neighborhood Change Agent for Richmond, California’s Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS). His experiences being mentored by elders while incarcerated for a decade inspired him to become a community leader and help other young men avoid his fate. Believing that violent youth will make better choices for themselves and their communities when able to visualize a healthier path and given life skills, the ONS fellowship program serves as surrogate family for these young men. Over 80% of the ONS fellows have stayed away from gun violence and now live with much more hope and promise. Meanwhile, Richmond’s homicide rate has plummeted. Sam recently collaborated with the ONS to publish their first children's book, Be A Change Agent For Your Communitya gun violence prevention book. 


A Culture of Health Includes Everyone
Guest post by Sam Vaughn on the TEDMED Blog

Crime Pays
Richman J. The Incredible Rarity of Changing Your Mind: Episode 555, This American Life. 2015.

California City Pays Young Men in Exchange for Not Pulling the Trigger
Pitts B. ABC Nightline. 2015.

The controversial method that helped turn one of America’s most murderous cities into one of its safest
McCoy T. Washington Post. 2015

How One California City Pays Its Most Violent Offenders To Stay Out Of Trouble 
Erbentraut E. Huffington Post. 2015.

To Stop Crime, Hand Over Cash
Boggan D. New York Times. 2015.

A Confused War: How one of America’s most dangerous cities reduced gun violence
Plus AJ. Al Jazeera. 2015.

Howard Pinderhughes and the Hope Dealers
Schwartz A. Science of Caring. UCSF School of Nursing. 2015.

A city that pays criminals to behave
Moltagh J, Okwu M. Al Jazeera News. 2014.

Did This City Bring Down Its Murder Rate by Paying People Not to Kill?
Murphy T. Mother Jones Magazine. 2014.

How One California City Began Bringing Its Murder Rate Down—Without Cops
Gilligan HT. The Nation Magazine. 2014.

The bold way one city is trying to stop crime
Melissa Harris Perry Show. MSNBC News. 2014.

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Neighborhood Change Agent