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Violence Costs Chicago $5.3 Billion Annually, Study Finds

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In a June 9, 2012 photo, the Chicago Police gang enforcement unit stops a car with four suspected gang members and arrests one of them on a warrant. In Chicago, homicides are up over 50 percent over last year. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)
In a June 9, 2012 photo, the Chicago Police gang enforcement unit stops a car with four suspected gang members and arrests one of them on a warrant. In Chicago, homicides are up over 50 percent over last year. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)

A Center for American Progress study tracing the costs of violent crime found that Chicago loses $5.3 billion to the literal and intangible costs of violence.

The case study, titled "The Economic Benefits of Reducing Violent Crime," examined data from eight U.S. cities to determine the financial benefits of reducing violence, and found that Chicago's desperately over-extended budget could see a dramatic turn if incidents of violence citywide were reduced.

Unfortunately for Chicago, there's been a steady upswing in violent crime over the last year. More Chicago residents have been killed in Chicago in 2012 than U.S. troops in Afghanistan over the same period, The Daily observed last weekend.

Researchers found that Chicago spends roughly $1.1 billion annually in direct costs stemming from violent crimes, which includes policing, arrests and prosecution, victims' out-of-pocket medical expenses, correctional facility funding and lost earnings for victims and perpetrators.

In addition to direct costs embedded in the penal system, Chicago's reputation for violence is hurting the city in less obvious ways. Indirect costs including pain and suffering endured by victims and their families sets the city back $4.2 billion, and the Center for American Progress predicted that reducing homicides by 25 percent would increase Chicago's home values by $5.5 billion.

The case study includes data from Boston, Houston, Dallas, Milwaukee, Jacksonville, Seattle and Philadelphia. (See the full report here.)

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