Today Governor Schwarzenegger announced monetary rewards to solve six murder mysteries scattered throughout California. In the Bay Area, the bounties are $35k for a Union City teen and $50k for another Livermore teen. If you have information leading to an arrest, then you could receive a nice payout.
Begs some obvious questions: Are certain lives worth more than others? What about all the other unsolved cases in the state? Are the folks killed in Oakland simply unworthy?
Let’s take the case of Johnikka Jackson, who attended Skyline High and later took medical assistant classes at Laney College – until she went missing last summer. We know about Johnikka because her body was discovered behind Skyline and positively identified in December. Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering a $10k reward for more tips on this crime.
Many Oakland murders, though, seem to be an afterthought. It’s just endemic crime, drug-induced crime, ongoing gang warfare, murders that simply happen in every inner city across America, etc. There might be some minor or occasional rewards for tips, but we’re pretty much awash in zero expectations.
Maybe bigger bounties would make a difference, who knows for sure. Let’s say tipsters start receiving from $35k to $50k for each unsolved homicide, based on clear reward criteria. Surely a few Oaklanders might fess up and be worthy recipients.
Of course, the State can’t afford an across-the-board crime reward in this economy. The Guvernator is doing something good, by announcing rewards for several heinous crimes. Yet we’re left wondering what this means and why now.