The cost of crime is devastating. It demoralizes our communities by robbing us of our right to safety and well-being. It weighs heavy on every aspect of our population in both security as well as in monetary measures. You can see the cost of crime every time your taxes rise to pay for law enforcement, every time they cut funding for schools, and every time you see a battered victim on the news. There is little uncertainty that crime is one of the most destructive of social problems our communities face.
Crime is estimated to create $105 billion in medical expenses, lost earnings, and costs for victim services. Once you total in the costs for pain and suffering, it costs about $450 billion annually. This does not include the estimated $38 billion to maintain the nation’s correctional systems.
According to a 2003 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the annual health-related costs of rape, physical assault, stalking and homicide by intimate partners exceeds $5.8 billion each year. Businesses suffer from this type of crime as well. Nearly eight million days of paid work is lost each year due to intimate partner violence (the equivalent to over 32,000 full-time jobs). $0.9 billion is lost in productivity.
However, not all crimes are violent, but can be just as detrimental to the victims and to our communities. Telemarketing fraud and identity theft have total monetary losses averaging over a billion dollars each year. Drug abuse and trafficking costs businesses billions each year due to loss of productivity and injury on the job.
It costs money to build facilities to keep criminals, money to pay our correctional authorities, and money for the rehabilitation services, which more than likely includes councilors, therapists, etc. Then there are the added expenses of medical care for prisoners and even basic needs like soap, food, and water. This all costs money.
All of this money is ripped from our communities through budget cuts and rises in taxes. Victims not only carry the emotional pain of being victimized but they too, bear the monetary pain as well, as do their families. Crime is here to stay and the more crime that is committed, the more law enforcement officials we will need to help safeguard our communities, and it will be an added expenditure to our communities. The cost of crime is a circle of pain and monetary hardship, and a circle has no end.