LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Homicides are costing taxpayers a record setting amount nationwide and UALR professor of Criminology, Jeff Walker, suggests similar trends here in Arkansas.
The study tracks cost beyond the obvious categories of police, courts, and prisons. Quality of life factors into this data and long term affects of death on a communities' economy.
"You've got a normal police response, crime scene response, a cleanup response," says UALR Criminal Justice Professor, Jeff Walker.
Walker says after initial response, taxpayers get the bill for the police investigation, the work of paramedics and hospital staff and the work of a medical examiner after the victim dies. Then legal costs add in another significant drain on taxpayer dollars.
"Depending on what the trial is can really change the cost. A capitol trial where they're going after the death penalty is exponentially more costly than even a life in prison trial," says Walker.
A study by RAND, a nonprofit research institute found the average cost of a homicide to substantially greater than other crimes with an average cost of a homicide at $8.7 million and the next highest was the cost of rape at $217,000. Walker says the indirect costs to families can be staggering.
"The cost of burial, medical costs that may go along with a homicide if the person is not dead when the police find them," says Walker.
Homicides can also impact an areas housing market.
"People wanting to live there or not live there...increased police presence in those types of neighborhoods so there are a lot of cost that are associated with homicide," says Walker.
The most shocking may be the legal cost of seeking the death penalty in a homicide case.
"You can actually try somebody, put them in prison for life for less money, not that that's the goal, than it would be for a death penalty case and even if the person was actually executed," says Walker.
Walker says about the only remedy to drive cost down would be to reduce the number of homicides.