The Costs of Political Violence in the United States: The Benefits of Investing in Communities

The insurrection at the United States Capitol occurred while this report was being prepared for publication. As more details emerge, it will be some time before the lead-up to the violent insurrection, the insurrection itself, and its aftermath can be fully analyzed. However, this event certainly illustrates many of the types of costs of political violence that this paper details. There are the immediate economic costs of shutting down the Capitol complex and repairing the damage that incurred. There are costs in increased security; 25,000 National Guard troops were brought into Washington, D.C. for the presidential inauguration, up to 7,000 of which will remain in place for a longer time period. Future analysis will also need to delve into the affective costs: for example, how can we measure the cost of the trauma to members and staffers of color working in the Capitol during and after the insurrection?

These and many more unnamed costs merit deeper exploration over the coming year. We must not forget that we are likely to see more violence if we do not take proactive steps to address the drivers of violence and polarization. This report provides a framework for thinking through this work and provides an analysis of holistic strategies that can be used to prevent similar attacks in the future.

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