JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – How much does homicide cost Mississippi’s taxpayers? The State Auditor’s Office released a report that discussed the cost of homicides in Mississippi.

The report stated that Mississippi has had a higher homicide rate than any other state since 2018. The City of Jackson had more homicides per capita than any other major city in the country last year.

Research noted in the report showed the average direct cost of a homicide to taxpayers across the southeastern United States ranges from $900,000 to $1.2 million. The cost includes crime scene response and cleanup, medical treatment and compensation for the victim, case investigation and prosecution, incarceration and lost tax revenue. Those numbers would suggest that taxpayers spent between $136.9 and $182.4 million due to homicides in Jackson in 2021.

In addition to direct costs to taxpayers, the report showed that there are also indirect costs of crime. The report stated that up to 7.5% more businesses close as the number of nearby reported gunshots and homicides increase. Home values and homeownership rates suffer as more gunshots and homicides are reported. A decreased level of violent crime in an area leads to increased property tax revenue.

According to the report, a solution would be to increase the amount of law enforcement officers. The report estimated that 100 new police officers on the street could prevent between six and 10 homicides per year.

White said a good long term solution for the crime crisis is expanding mentorship programs for young men.

“One thing I’ve pointed out, there are programs out there, specifically the JROTC program, that have been shown to help those sorts of young men build a stable life for themselves and not fall into a pattern of crime. It gives those young people a glimpse into what their life could be like, and the results are incredible,” said White.

Read the full report on the State Auditor’s website.