top of page
Image by Colin Lloyd

The Cost of Gun Violence

The economic and educational costs of violence in the District of Columbia are profound and impact everyone in the city.  

The human toll is immeasurable.


Peace For DC commissioned three reports on the financial and educational impacts of shootings and homicides in DC, created by the National Institute For Criminal Justice Reform and Urban Institute.  These reports provide modest estimates on both direct and indirect costs to taxpayers, residents, businesses, children, and property owners.  


Peace For DC is dedicated to empowering community-based organizations to launch and expand evidence-based programs focused on treating trauma, transforming lives, and providing training for the city’s violence intervention workforce.


We provide this research to help guide the discussion around our public and private investments in reducing violence and building thriving communities.


Research was conducted by the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform on the direct costs of gun violence on District taxpayers. Highlights from this important report includes:

  • In 2021 alone, gun violence in DC cost taxpayers almost $1 billion. This is a very conservative figure, and only includes direct costs like hospital services, policing, prosecution, and incarceration.

  • Each shooting homicide in DC costs taxpayers at least $1.53 million per suspect in direct costs, and often much more.

  • Each injury shooting in DC costs taxpayers at least $783,000 per suspect in direct costs, and often much more.


This Urban Institute report commissioned by Peace For DC looks at how children's education is affected by gun violence.  A few highlights:

  • "Traumatic events such as witnessing violence during childhood can create lasting psychological symptoms for a child, including feeling anxious, having trouble sleeping, and struggling to cope with their emotions. When these symptoms continue for extended periods, it can greatly affect the child’s school achievement and social skill development."

  • "1 in 4 children exposed to traumatic events develops post-traumatic stress disorder by age 18; prevalence is even higher among young people exposed to armed conflict."

  • "elementary schools in areas with a higher concentration of gunshots had English and math test scores that were 50 percent lower than those of students attending schools in areas with fewer gunshots."

  • "gunfire around schools in DC is relatively common, but it is also concentrated among a small number of schools. During the 2011–12 school year, of all the gunfire incidents that occurred during school hours, more than half (54 percent) occurred within 1,000 feet of a school. However, nearly half of these incidents affected only 9 percent of schools, mainly those in Wards 7 and 8."


Research was conducted by Urban Institute on the indirect costs of gun violence. Highlights from this important report includes:

  • One additional homicide per year could be associated with a roughly $9,000 decrease in the median home price citywide.

  • One additional violent crime per 1,000 DC residents per year could be associated with a nearly $1,000 decrease in the estimated median home price citywide.

  • A 10 percent increase in gun homicides per year could result in 24 fewer retail and service businesses and the loss of corresponding job opportunities and sales tax revenue.

bottom of page