Killing Chicago's Economy: Quantifying the Costs of Gun Violence

The value of a single life lost or destroyed by gun violence is incalculable. But the cumulative impact of such savagery has consequences for a city's economy in the form of 'shuttered businesses, lost wages, disability checks and depopulation.'
May 28, 2013, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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With 506 homicides last year and 2,000 non-fatal shootings, Chicago far outpaced any other American city in its level of violent crime. Beyond the emotional impact on the victims, their families, and surrounding communities, such violence has a very real cost to the city as a whole, report Tim Jones & John McCormick.  

"All told, shootings cost Chicago $2.5 billion a year, or about $2,500 per household, according to Jens Ludwig, director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab. Many of those costs are intangibles, Ludwig said, like keeping people from going outside or letting their children walk to school. Reducing even a fraction of the carnage, though, would free up more money than the city expects to save each year from the closing of 49 elementary schools approved yesterday by the school board."

In the city's South Shore neighborhood, the childhood home of first lady Michelle Obama, "the price of such violence can be gauged in its grim decline, from a vibrant redoubt among neighborhoods that have long been synonymous with urban mayhem to one on the verge of joining their ranks."

“Violence hurts the economy, and sooner or later it permeates everything,” said Teyonda Wertz, head of South Shore’s chamber of commerce. “Unless we change our crime situation, it’ll kill us.”

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Published on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 in Bloomberg
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