Sirens & Gavels

Washington is 10th least-violent state

Washington is one of the most peaceful states in the nation, according to a new study that examined various factors such as homicide and violent crime rates. Idaho ranked 16th.

The Institute for Economics and Peace, a nonpartisan think tank, examines violence from an economic standpoint, publishing the U.S. Peace Index in hopes that successful state models can be emulated.

"Violence and incarceration create large costs for government and the economy," the study notes. "This study estimates that if the U.S. had similar levels of peacefulness to Canada, the conservative economic effect on the U.S. economy would be $361 billion per annum."

In addition to violent crime rates, the study examined rates of incaraceration, numbers of law enforcement officers per capita, and availability of small arms.

"This study does not make any moral or value judgments about the appropriate levels of any of the indicators," the authors wrote. "It is acknowledged that without police, higher levels of crime would exist and that it is necessary to incarcerate individuals who pose a danger to the rest of society. However some societies are more peaceful than others and by understanding the societal structures and attitudes associated with these societies a more enlightened public policy debate will ensue."

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David Wasson oversees coverage of politics and state and local government and assists with editing on the City Desk.

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