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Shootings in PBC cost you $956 per year

Posted at 5:13 PM, Jul 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-06 18:21:24-04

“Why would somebody kill him?” a tearful Serline Gustave asked in December after her brother, Niherson Gustave, was shot and killed in Delray Beach.

Hers is just one of many stories of heartbreak as bullets continue to destroy families across South Florida.

“When you take a life, you take part of yourself,” said Prince Arafat who knows what it’s like to pull the trigger.

He spent 15 years in prison for murder. Now he’s working with the city of Delray Beach and its police to break the cycle of gun violence.

“So no other child or mother has to go through the same thing,” Arafat said.

It’s an uphill battle.

So far in 2017, there have been 271 shootings in Palm Beach County and on the Treasure Coast according to data collected by

61 people were killed in these shootings and 120 injured.

With that many shootings, the sound of gunfire is turning into white noise for many people.

Dr. Ted Miller with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation said whether the violence impacts you directly or not, we all pay the price as taxpayer.

“There’s only 1.3 million people in Palm Beach County and $78 million in cost,” Miller said.

That $78 million is just the direct cost to the government.

Miller has calculated the cost using several different factors: medical cost, work loss, the cost to police and criminal justice and the cost to the employer.

In 2015 the medical cost of shootings in Palm Beach County was $10 million, the cost to police $40 million and the cost to the justice system close to $50 million.

Miller broke down the cost and found each Palm Beach County resident pays $956 per year for shootings. In other terms, that’s a laptop every year.

Miller said one thing that surprised him when calculating the numbers for Palm Beach County was when he compared them to Chicago, a city often mentioned for its violent crime rate.

“It’s higher in Palm Beach (than in Chicago),” Miller said. "In Palm Beach County there are about 13 firearm deaths per 100,000 population. In Chicago, there are 11."