In the case of Philadelphia, the costs are staggering. The report's authors concluded that the direct, annual costs of violent crime in Philadelphia in 2010 came to $736 million. When intangible costs associated with violent crime are factored in — such as the pain and suffering of surviving victims — the tab for violent crime here topped out at $3.7 billion a year.
And, as Philadelphia has painfully learned, more money spent on policing and crime-fighting means less money for schools and infrastructure, not to mention increased taxes on residents and businesses.
The report did not attempt to calculate the costs of reducing violent crime, but said a 10 percent reduction could reduce total government costs by an average of $240 per resident per year here.
However, it said the largest economic benefits arise from the impact that lower violent-crime rates have on housing values.
The authors — Robert Shapiro, a senior fellow at Georgetown University, and Kevin Hassett, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute — found that, on average, a reduction in a given year of one murder in a ZIP code could boost housing values by 1.5 percent the following year and yield additional savings and increased revenues for the city and its surrounding burbs.
If the region could reduce its murder rate by just 10 percent per year, residential property values could increase by as much as $3.2 billion a year and substantially expand revenues from property taxes, the study found. n
Contact Michael Hinkelman at 215-854-2656 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @MHinkelman.