Introduction Compared to the rest of the UK, Scotland faces elevated levels of interpersonal violence. A large proportion of the violence is focused in Glasgow, which has acquired the label, Murder Capital of Western Europe. While violence is a leading burden on health, it also has a considerable financial impact. Until now, the cost of violence was based on dated estimates from England to Wales. This study estimates the financial cost of murder in Glasgow.
Method Data were supplied by the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, on all murders in Glasgow between 2002 and 2009. The costing analysis considered four gross cost categories: lost output due to homicide (human capital), incarceration costs, investigation costs, and costs of physical and emotional impact.
Results Findings highlight a general reduction in the number of homicides between 2002 (50) and 2009 (29) with a peak in 2004 (62). Moreover, while overall costs have generally declined, the average cost of murder has increased between 2002 (£69.9M average £1.39M) and 2009 (£46.39M, average £1.60M). The estimated total financial burden for murders committed in the 8-year period was in excess of £523 Million.
Conclusion The study suggests that previous figures have grossly underestimated the financial cost of murder in Glasgow and that the new estimates provide a more representative indication of the financial burden in Scotland. Moreover, the reducing murder rate coincides with the implementation of major violence reduction initiatives in the City. The findings therefore offer additional support for continued investment in Public Health initiatives to reduce violence in Scotland.
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