Gun Violence Kills Business Growth and Jobs: Report

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Photo by Rod Waddington via Flickr.

A new study on the impact of gun violence in six U.S. cities found that sudden spikes in gun violence can reduce the growth of new businesses, while neighborhoods with higher gun violence had fewer retail and service businesses, and fewer new jobs.

The report, released June 1 by the Urban Institute, analyzes the impact of gun violence on Baton Rouge, La.; Minneapolis, Mn; Oakland, Ca., Rochester, NY; San Francisco, Ca.; and Washington, DC..

According to researchers, it is the first study of its kind to look at the impact of gun violence on the overall economic health of communities beyond the usual indicators, such as impact on victims, the health industry and law enforcement.

The study compares economic data to gunshot, gun homicide and socio-demographic data. It found that higher gun violence correlated with lower home values, credit scores and home-ownership rates.

For each new gun homicide in a census tract for any given year, researchers discovered:

  • In Minneapolis, there were 80 fewer jobs the next year;
  • In Oakland, there were 5 fewer job opportunities in shrinking businesses the next year;
  • In Washington, DC, there were two fewer retail and service establishments the next year. Every 10 additional gunshots in a census tract in a given year were related to one less new business opening, one more business closing, and 20 fewer jobs in new establishments the same year;
  • A $22,000 decrease in average home values in Minneapolis and a $24,621 decrease in Oakland;
  • A 20-point decrease in average credit score in Minneapolis and a 9-point decrease in Oakland;
  • a 3 percent decrease in home-ownership rates in Washington, DC, and a 1 percent decrease in Baton Rouge.

Homeowners, business owners, and stakeholders also described the “significant costs” they incur as a result of gun violence, including bulletproof windows, cameras, security systems, and shortened business hours.

Based on these findings, the Urban Institute recommends that policy makers engage more actively with local business advocates, homeowners, and the media to raise public awareness about the economic impact of gun violence, as well to become more involved in community-level gun violence reduction efforts.

The authors of the report are Yasemin Irvin-Erickson, Bing Bai, Annie Gurvis, and Edward Mohr. Irvin-Erickson and Bai are research associates at the Urban Institute; Gurvis and Mohr are research assistants.

This summary was prepared by Victoria Mckenzie, deputy editor of The Crime Report. Readers’ comments are welcome.

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