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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2010 Apr 1;108(1-2):98-109. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.12.002. Epub 2010 Jan 13.

The cost of crime to society: new crime-specific estimates for policy and program evaluation.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Clinical Research Building, Miami, FL 33136, USA.


Estimating the cost to society of individual crimes is essential to the economic evaluation of many social programs, such as substance abuse treatment and community policing. A review of the crime-costing literature reveals multiple sources, including published articles and government reports, which collectively represent the alternative approaches for estimating the economic losses associated with criminal activity. Many of these sources are based upon data that are more than 10 years old, indicating a need for updated figures. This study presents a comprehensive methodology for calculating the cost to society of various criminal acts. Tangible and intangible losses are estimated using the most current data available. The selected approach, which incorporates both the cost-of-illness and the jury compensation methods, yields cost estimates for more than a dozen major crime categories, including several categories not found in previous studies. Updated crime cost estimates can help government agencies and other organizations execute more prudent policy evaluations, particularly benefit-cost analyses of substance abuse treatment or other interventions that reduce crime.

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