Atlanta Shooting Coincides with Troubling Increase in Hate Crimes – and It’s Costing Us Up to 6% of the US GDP

Mandatory Credit: Photo by ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11803941e)Flowers left by well-wishers sit at the entrance to Young's Asian Massage spa in Acworth, Georgia, USA, 17 March 2021.
ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock / ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

On Tuesday night, eight people, including six Asian-American women, were killed at three massage parlors in the Atlanta suburbs. The assailant’s motivation is not clear at this time. Whether or not these victims were targeted due to their ethnicity, Asian-Americans are on edge. CNBC reports that 2020 saw a 150% increase in hate crimes against Asian-Americans in 16 of America’s largest cities, even while hate crimes overall declined by 7%.

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Analysts think that much of the increase is because a few people insist on blaming Asians for the coronavirus pandemic, which started in China. President Trump frequently referred to coronavirus as the “China virus,” which may have further inflamed some.

Hate crimes are traumatic and heartbreaking for victims, their families, and their friends. They also generate economic losses. In 2018, the U.S. Justice Department released a report by the  Justice Research and Statistics Organization on the financial costs of crime victimization. The researchers estimate that the cost to crime victims totals 2% to 6% of annual GDP. This does not include other costs of crime, such as police investigations or incarceration.

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The report noted that victim costs are difficult to estimate because they include everything from such identifiable and tangible items as transportation to court hearings to the loss of someone who was dearly loved by family and friends, which is impossible to quantify. It did not look at types of crimes.

While hard numbers may not exist, it is likely that hate-related damage to Asian-Americans and to Asian-American businesses are adding a drag to the economy as well as division to our society. Ending hate is good for everyone.

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About the Author

Ann Logue is a writer specializing in business and finance. Her most recent book is The Complete Idiot’s Guide: Options Trading (Alpha 2016). She lives in Chicago.

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