Weather Updates

Study: The annual cost of violence in Chicago is $5.3 billion

Sun-Times Library

Sun-Times Library

storyidforme: 32357418
tmspicid: 9134393
fileheaderid: 4169455

Updated: June 19, 2012 3:45PM

Chicago’s sharp spike in murder rates could prove very costly if it lasts, according to a national study released Tuesday.

Violent crime costs Chicago about $5.3 billion a year, the study concluded.

A 25 percent drop in murders would result in home values rising $5.5 billion, according to the Center for American Progress, which studied eight cities including Chicago. Murder in Chicago is up 36 percent this year through June 10, according to the police department.

Researchers came up with $1.1 billion in direct costs of violent crime for Chicago by looking at spending on police, prosecutors and jails — as well as medical expenses and lost income of crime victims and the lost income of locked-up criminal defendants.

The study also put a price tag on pain and suffering caused by violence in Chicago. The tab for those indirect costs: $4.2 billion.

The analysis also included a look at the impact of crime on real-estate values.

The researchers said they found predictable year-to-year increases in housing values in ZIP codes where murders decreased. Chicago would see a $5.5 billion rise in property values with a 25 percent drop in murders, the study said.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.