The Cost of a Single Murder: $17.2 Million

The average American murder costs society $17.2 million, according to researchers who studied the economic impact of murders, rapes, and other felonies. Here's how they stacked up.

Criminal justice professor Matt DeLisi led a team that quantified economic losses stemming from hundreds of convicted felons' crimes—stuff like cost of incarceration, lost productivity, and pricey justice system proceedings. This chart summarizes of his findings:

The Cost of a Single Murder: $17.2 Million

WTP refers to "willingness-to-pay," an estimate that quantifies "money that citizens are willing to pay to prevent crimes." It helps calculate community-wide economic costs.

In an interview with Smart Planet, DeLisi reiterates that victim costs "are simply beyond money." His study is purely economic; a reasonable reaction, he says, might be to compare these costs with "social services that will try to push kids out of risky or at-risk environments." [Smart Planet, PDF of DeLisi's study, image via Tatiana Popova/Shutterstock]