Sunday, January 28, 2007

The End of Murder?

Los Angeles Weekly has a great cover story on murder, but unfortunately only compares LA to New York. I'd like to learn more about murder-reduction (or, dare we dream, murder-elimination) strategies.

The two things that seem to make the most sense to me in reducing crime are more police officers and more cameras in high-crime areas. Cheaper education programs, like Big Brothers, that help to raise children away from becoming criminals, also seem like smart investments.

The cost of violent crime is so high and so difficult to compute. The LA Weekly article cites at least $1,000,000 per homicide to the LA city government in police work, legal-system costs and lost business activity. As I recall from law school, juries in civil cases tend to value a life at between 3 and 6 million dollars when measuring compensation. And how do you measure the emotional impact of losing mother or son or friend to homicide?

If anyone knows how Illinois rates relative to the other 49 on crime-prevention strategies, I'd be very interested to learn from you.

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