U.S. is Murder Capital– More Killings, More Guns, More Prisons… Economic Costs of Over $229 Billion Per Year…

Its ubiquity in the news– mass killings, multiple murders, terror attacks, extreme violence, e.g.; 14 killed, 17 injured (San Bernardino); 4 killed (Colorado Springs), 12 killed, 70 injured (Aurora); 27 killed (Sandy Hook), 30 killed, 137 injured (Boston Marathon); 13 killed (Columbine); 168 killed, 680 injured (Oklahoma City)…

According to ‘The Atlantic’; in U.S. cities, gun killings are comparable to some of the deadliest places in the world, e.g.; Atlanta has the same gun murder rate as South Africa; Detroit as El Salvador; Phoenix equal to Mexico’s gun homicide rate…

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The U.S. has higher rates of homicides from guns than Pakistan, at 4.5 deaths per 100,000 people; the U.S. rates aren’t much lower than gun homicide rates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (5.2 deaths per 100,000 people)… Annually, the U.S. has about two fewer gun homicide deaths per 100,000 people than Iraq, which has 6.5 deaths per 100,000… Here are some other staggering statistics:

    • U.S. cost of interpersonal violence is more than $300 billion per year. The cost to victims was estimated at more than $500 billion per year. Combined, this is the equivalent to nearly 10% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)…
    • U.S. national violence containment costs are over $1.7 Trillion…
    • U.S. youth homicide rates are more than 10 times that of other leading industrialized nations… on par with the rates in developing countries and those experiencing rapid social and economic changes. The youth homicide rate in the U.S. stood at 11.0 per 100,000 compared to France (0.6 per 100 000), Germany (0.8 per 100 000), UK (0.9 per 100 000), Japan (0.4 per 100 000)…
    • U.S. total cost of violence was conservatively calculated to be over $460 billion for the cost of violence related only to paying for police, justice, corrections and the productivity effect of violent crime, homicide and robbery… while the lost productivity from violence amounted to $318 billion. California has the highest state burden of violence at over $22 billion/year, while Vermont has lowest at $188 million. For each state taxpayer, total economic cost of violence varies greatly, from $7,166 per taxpayer in Washington D.C. to $1,281 for Maine taxpayers…
    • U.S. with less than 5% of the world’s population has nearly 25%, 2.3 million, of its prisoners…
    • U.S. children are 14 times as likely to die from guns as children in other developed countries
    • U.S. annual cost of treating gunshot wounds is estimated at $126 billion. Cutting and stab wounds cost an additional $51 billion…

In the article True Crime Costs by Annie Lowrey writes: Crime does pay and society is paying the bill… According to researchers at Iowa State University; the direct costs of crime, i.e.; damaged property, lost careers, prison upkeep, lawyer fees… in addition, the broader and more intangible societal costs, such as; more frequent police patrols, more complicated alarm systems, and more expensive life-insurance plans… they found that each burglary in U.S., e.g.; car break-in costs $41,288. For armed robberies, the cost increases eightfold to $335,733. Every aggravated assault cost is $145,379. Each rape cost is $448,532… Hence, according to Matt DeLisi; the price tag for murder in U.S. is a whopping $17,252,656… That means that any murder, anywhere in the country, costs society somewhere on the order of $17 million…

Hence, the worst offender in this study who was convicted of nine killings, imposed a $153 million cost on society. The 48 convicted murders of Gary Ridgway, perhaps the most prolific murderer, currently in prison, cost the country $816 million… This study was based on polling results that considered all costs associated with a killing, e.g.; victim costs, criminal justice system costs, lost productivity estimates for both the victim and the criminal… This is an estimate of the public’s willingness to pay to prevent future killings…

According to Mark Cohen; $17 million figure is high because traditionally, willingness to pay is considered a yardstick for determining the cost of murder– an alternative and more comprehensive measure is to calculate-all-the-costs-and-add-them-up method… Hence, Cohen and other researchers generally estimate the price per murder at $10 million to $12 million– this is just the ‘willingness to pay’ number…

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In the article U.S. Annual Economic Cost of Violence by Philip Sherwell writes: The annual economic toll of the U.S. gun violence epidemic is $229 billion, or the equivalent of $700/person in U.S. And, according to the FBI; murder cost the U.S. almost $263 billion… The price tag makes the economic impact of gun killings and injuries more costly than obesity for the U.S. (estimated at $224 billion) and nearly as expensive as the $251 billion for Medicaid… The total dwarfs the sizes of many national economies…

According to a three-year investigation by Mark Follman, Julia Lurie, Jaeah Lee, James West, Ted Miller; the combined annual cost of– 11,000 murders, 22,000 suicides, and 75,000 injuries that are the result of gunshots is about $8.6 billion in direct costs, such as; the emergency response, health care after a shooting, the price of police investigations, court costs, expense of jailing those found guilty of gun crime… and the bulk of the tally is $49 billion/year in lost wages and spending, and $169 billion for the estimated impact on victims’ quality of life based on jury awards for pain and suffering in cases of wrongful injury and death…

The study notes that while the U.S. assesses the economic toll of– car crashes, air pollution, domestic violence, there is no official data on gun violence…

In the article U.S. Mass-Shooting Capital Is Chicago by Justin Glawe writes: Chicago’s worst neighborhoods where– by one measure– it ‘s more dangerous to live than the world’s most-murderous countries, i.e.; West Garfield Park (Chicago), population 18,000, had 21 murders last year, which makes for a homicide rate of 116 per 100,000 people. The world’s leader in murders, Honduras, has a homicide rate of 90, according to the United Nations…

Following West Garfield Park in lethality was West Englewood (Chicago) and its 73.3 murder rate, more than second-place Venezuela with its 53.7 rate. Chicago’s Chatham (58) beats Belize (44.7); Chicago’s Englewood (52.6) outdoes El Salvador (41.2); South Chicago (48) tops Guatemala (39.9)… The U.S. as a whole has 4.5 murders per 100,000…

Chicago’s 411 homicides doesn’t seem like much compared to the city’s 2.7 million residents, but that’s the misleading part of this grim numbers game: Determining a city’s level of violence by looking at its overall per capita rate doesn’t tell the whole story… The West Garfield Park neighborhood has average annual income of just more than $10,000; 40% of households live below the poverty line.

West Garfield Park ranks near top of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods on the city’s ‘hardship index’, which is calculated by taking into account those living in crowded housing, and unemployment rates among teens and adults, among other factors. The higher the number, the more difficult life will be and according to the statisticians; West Garfield Park and its 96% black residents scores 92 on the hardship index… And for every person killed by gunfire in Chicago, another four are shot and survive…

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In the article Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities by Monica Davey and Mitch Smith write: Cities across the U.S. are seeing a startling rise in murders after years of declines, more than 30 cities have reported increases in violence from a year ago, e.g.; in New Orleans, 120 people had been killed by late August, compared with 98 during the same period a year earlier; in Baltimore, homicides hit 215 up from 138 at the same point in 2014; in Washington, the toll was 105 compared with 73 people a year ago; and in St. Louis, 136 people killed this year, a 60% rise from the 85 murders the city had by the same time last year…

Law enforcement experts say disparate factors are at play in different cities, though no one is claiming to know for sure why murder rates are climbing. Some officials say intense national scrutiny of the use of force by the police has made officers less aggressive and emboldened criminals, though many experts dispute that theory… Rivalries among organized street gangs often over drug turf, and the availability of guns are cited as major factors in some cities… But many top police officials are saying  it’s more than guns; they are seeing a growing willingness among disenchanted young men in poor neighborhoods to use violence to settle ordinary disputes…

Researchers continue to debate the key factors behind changing crime rates, which is part of a larger discussion about the predictors of crime… But, the statistics of violence are staggering: According to the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) Report; the total U.S. public and private expenditure on containing violence is 10.5% of GDP. ( The total world economic impact of violence last year reached US$14.3 trillion, or 13.4% of global GDP).

In absolute terms, countries with the largest violence containment  expenditure are the United States, China, Russia, India and Brazil. These countries account for 54% of total internal violence containment expenditure while also accounting for 45% of world GDP and 46% of the world’s population…). Violence containment spending is defined as economic activity that is related to the consequences or prevention of violence where the violence is directed against people, property…

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According to Steve Killelea; if the $2.16 trillion of ‘Violence Containment’ spending were represented as a discrete industry, it would be the largest industry in the U.S. economy, larger than construction, real estate, professional services, manufacturing… The study accounts for all expenditure that is related to violence, such as; medical expenses, police, incarceration, military, insurance, homeland security, and the private security industry… Expenditure is also divided by– local ($154 billion), state ($101 billion), and federal ($1,305 billion) governments, and private spending by corporations, households, individuals ($602 billion)…

Hence, a 5% reduction in ‘Violence Containment’ spending for 5 years would provide $326 billion. This would exceed the funding needed to rebuild the nation’s levees systems, update roads, bridge infrastructure, upgrade of nation’s school infrastructure… The study clearly shows that even a small reductions in violence and the spending associated with it would result in a meaningful stimulation of the U.S. economy…