Cost Of Crime Essay

2213 words - 9 pages

The cost of crime is a difficult calculation to arrive at. Not only does crime cost the victim, but also society as a whole. Many of the costs can be estimated using monetary values based on the crime directly. Other costs however are not as easy to measure in dollar values. The social cost of crime to society and the victim go much further than the crime itself, but all of the repercussions due to the crime make up a large portion of its cost.In 1996 the U.S. Department of Justice released a report that the cost of crime victimizations added up to $105 billion annually. This calculation included tangible losses such as property and productivity losses as well as medical expenses due to the crime. That would amount to a tax of $425 per person in the United States because of crime. Also other costs must be added as well to that figure to gain a real account of the cost. This is not an easy figure to determine, but such costs, intangible costs, add up to quite a lot of money as well. When values for intangible costs such as pain, trauma, disability, and the risk of death are measured into dollars, the costs are much higher at $450 annually. That would work out to $1800 per person in the United States. That may seem like an incredible amount and it is. The social cost of crime is large figure that goes well beyond the monetary values that can be calculated, but using a monetary value that people can see and compare helps people to understand. Dollar values are something that people can recognize without getting to deep into the real social cost of crime. ("The Extent," 1996).One area of crime in which it is quite easy to measure a monetary value is with property crimes. Property crimes are very costly to most Americans. Most people have experienced at some time being victimized by a property crime. Whether it was just a small item that was stolen and never reported or a costly item that was taken from your home that was reported to your insurance company. Many people have experienced such crime and in general tolerate property crime much more than other crimes. The perception is most people do not really get injured from property crime. In most cases for expensive items insurance will cover for the replacement of the item. If the item is not covered by insurance then there will be a slight monetary loss, but in general people do not get injured. The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimated that in 1999 the value of stolen property was approximately $14.8 billion. This total is very staggering and can be broken down into a number of different categories. Two of the categories that most greatly attributes to the large dollar figure is larceny-thefts and also auto vehicle theft. The losses to the victims of larceny-thefts came to a total of $4.7 billion dollars. It is also estimated that in the United States there were more than $7 billion worth of auto vehicles stolen as well. These staggering costs are not paid for by just the victims of the crimes,...

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