Murder Costs Society — About $17 Million

AMES, Iowa, Oct. 6 (UPI) — Murder has a human cost, of course, but U.S. sociologists say there’s a financial cost as well — about $17 million per murder.

Researchers at Iowa State University calculated the costs of five crimes — murder, rape, armed robbery, aggravated assault and burglary — in terms of the victim costs, criminal justice system costs, lost productivity estimates for both the victim and the criminal, and estimates on the public’s resulting willingness to pay to prevent future violence, a university release says.

They calculated the societal cost of rape ($448,532), armed robbery ($335,733), aggravated assault ($145,379) and burglary ($41,288).

While research attaching cost estimates to heinous crimes may appear a bit cold in nature, one researcher says it’s actually conducted with prevention in mind.

“This area of research has really been run with prevention researchers,” Matt DeLisi, an ISU associate professor of sociology and director of the criminal justice program, said. “That’s because what they find is that even if a prevention program is very expensive — and most of them are actually shockingly inexpensive — they’re still more cost effective than allowing these careers to unfold.”

The study was published in the August 2010 edition of The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology.

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Categorized | Justice, Other
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