Average Homicide Cost Is $17.25M, Study Concludes
A new study pegs the average cost of a homicide at $17.25 million, spurring the lead researcher to conclude that prevention programs are the cheaper alternative.
The figure isn’t limited to the costs of the criminal investigation, prosecution and incarceration, according to the study (PDF) published in the August 2010 issue of The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology. It also includes lost income due to incarceration, lost productivity for the victim, and the amount of money citizens would be willing to pay to prevent future violence.
Justice system costs accounted for just $307,355. Most of the total—$12 million—was the amount of money citizens would be willing to pay to prevent future violence.
Iowa State University professor Matt DeLisi was the lead researcher. He based his numbers on a study of 654 convicted and imprisoned homicide offenders in eight states: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas, according to the Clarion Ledger and a press release.
“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,” DeLisi said in the press release.