Statement on the Impacts of Widespread Looting

East Lansing/Chicago—As cities across the nation held peaceful protest over the death of George Floyd this weekend, several experienced looting that left businesses destroyed or damaged, sometimes beyond repair.

Experts at Anderson Economic Group reviewed news publications to identify where looting occurred in the 20 largest metropolitan areas across the country, and estimate that the total costs of looting between May 29 and June 3 in America’s 20 largest metropolitan areas exceeded $400 million. This includes property damage, lost inventory, cleanup and reconstruction costs, and closure-related lost wages. They did not assign any costs to peaceful protests or demonstrations.

“The looting is unfortunate,” noted Brian Peterson, the firm’s director of public policy and economic analysis. “Many states were on the verge of reopening after a two-month-plus COVID-19 closure, and now some of these businesses will not be able to reopen.”

Peterson noted that the cost estimate is likely an undercount since it focuses only on verified instances of looting and does not account for increased costs borne by state and local government. “Our estimates are based on observed patterns of looting in the 20 largest metropolitan areas across the country. We did not estimate costs in smaller metro areas that may have also experienced looting. Furthermore, our estimates do not including costs to state or local governments that experienced property damage or incurred increased emergency service costs.”

“We hope that those businesses that experienced looting and damage will be able to bounce back, but we know that some will not make it. That means empty storefronts and the loss of jobs at those businesses, which ultimately hurts local communities.”