Estimates suggest taxpayers likely lost between $136.8 and $182.4 million due to homicides reported in Jackson in 2021 alone.

On Monday, the Office of the State Auditor released a report which showed each homicide in Mississippi costs taxpayers between $900,000 and $1.2 million.

Those costs include crime scene response and cleanup, medical treatment and compensation for the victim, case investigation and prosecution by law enforcement, incarceration for the defendant, and lost tax revenue.

These estimates suggest taxpayers likely lost between $136.8 and $182.4 million due to homicides reported in Jackson in 2021 alone.

According to the State Auditor’s report, it is estimated that 100 new police officers on the streets could prevent between 6 and 10 homicides per year.

The report noted that research also shows indirect costs of crime. For example, increased homicide rates have been linked to decreased business activity and reduced home values.

Studies show the following:

  • Up to 7.5% more businesses close as the number of nearby reported gunshots and homicides increases. As businesses falter, fewer jobs are available for local residents.
  • Home values and homeownership rates suffer as more gunshots and homicides are reported in specific census tracts.
  • Decreased level of violent crime in an area leads to increased local property tax revenue.

The new report says Mississippi has a violent crime problem.

“Since 2018, Mississippi has had a higher homicide rate than any other state in the country. Jackson, the state capital, had more homicides per capita than any other major metropolitan area in the country last year. Hinds County, home of the state’s capital city, has led the state in reported homicides for all years with available data,” the Auditor’s report states.

The Auditor’s office says Mississippi must address its violent crime problem.

“Jackson’s particularly high homicide rate must be brought under control. Research has shown the economic outlooks in other states has improved when their capital cities have flourished. The Mississippi Office of the State Auditor will continue to identify ways Mississippi and the City of Jackson can reduce crime and save taxpayer money,” the report concluded.

State Auditor Shad White said that his office will continue to highlight the costs to taxpayers that these challenges, like violent crime, mean for the state.

“Aside from the monetary cost, we also know that every life has value in God’s eyes, and every death due to homicide is a tragedy,” White said. “Now is the time to support the police in our state and put violent criminals in jail and keep them there. If we do not get tough on crime and stop the destructive catch and release problem we have, this report shows how costly it will be to Mississippians.”

Last month, Auditor White tied his office’s “brain drain” report with the crime in the capital city of Jackson following the shooting at the Mississippi Mudbug festival.

White said Mississippi is in danger of losing its biggest talent magnet.

“Based on our recent brain drain report, 30% of graduates who stay in Mississippi go to work in Hinds County. It’s a huge talent magnet,” Auditor White told Y’all Politics. “We have seen several shootings over the last two weeks, and Jackson is the per capita homicide capital of the United States based on the most recent data. We are at risk of losing our best talent magnet due to crime.”

“This is not just a Jackson Metro problem, but a Mississippi problem. We must solve this issue, and we must solve fast,” White continued.

You can view the Office of the State Auditor’s report below.

The High Cost of Violent Crime in Mississippi by yallpolitics on Scribd