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Crime and justice


Economics of crime and justice






  The Economic and Social Costs of Crime
Home Office Research Study 217, by Sam Brand and Richard Price, December 2000

This work established for the first time estimates for the full impact of crime on society, setting out methodology for valuing each of the main categories of crime. It has become a standard text for researchers and criminal justice agencies around the world. 

 It estimated that in 1999-2000 the cost of all crime in England and Wales was around £60bn.   On average, a serious violent crime is estimated to cost society £19,000, compared to £4,800 for a vehicle theft or a robbery, and £510 for criminal damage. The average impact of a homicide is estimated at £1.1 million.  Violent crimes represent around 40% of the overall cost of crime, compared with only 3% of the number of crimes.

The estimates were prepared to provide an indicator to show how well the criminal justice system is performing in tackling the wider impacts of crime on society - such as victim trauma, damage to and loss of property, and time spent responding to crime and dealing with its consequences.   They can help us prioritise, focusing resources on policies that have the biggest impact on the harm and victim trauma caused by crime, rather than simply the number of crimes.

Download: Click here to download this paper from the UK National Archive


Selecting the policy mix to reduce crime:  The United Kingdom's
Crime Reduction Programme: analysis of costs and benefits

Sanjay Dhiri, Peter Goldblatt, Sam Brand and Richard Price, in Brandon C. Welsh et al: "Costs and Benefits of Preventing Crime", Westview Press, Oxford  (May 2001)

This paper sets out the rationale and framework for the UK Government's Crime Reduction programme, the first example of an attempt by any government to generate comparative evidence on social rates across different approaches to tackling crime using a deliberately experimental approach. Evidence generated by the Programme was to be used subsequently to help inform decisions on how best to allocate resources in main government programmes to maximise their impact on reducing crime, across the whole range of interventions including deterrence, 'target hardening', early years programmes, sentencing and rehabilitation of offenders.

Improving police performance:
A new approach to measuring police efficiency

Clare Spottiswoode, Public Services Productivity Panel, April 2000.

Drawing on experience with comparative competition in economic regulation, this report set out new approaches to benchmark competition, using information on the performance variations between the 42 local English and Welsh police forces in reducing crime, improving public safety, detecting criminals, and other objectives, adjusting for the resources available and social and demographic variations between areas. This work led to the more extensive use of benchmarking as a means of determining the relative financial and managerial scrutiny and flexibility faced by each force.


  Criminal Justice System business and strategic plans (1999 onwards)

New arrangements for planning and performance managing the criminal justice system in England and Wales as a single entity were introduced for the first time in 1999. These committed the system and its component bodies to deliver a joint set of objectives on behalf of the public.

The Home Office and Ministry of Justice websites provide information on the developing management arrangements for improving the performance of the system in cutting crime and delivering justice. 

Link: UK Ministry of Justice:
Link: UK Home Office 

  The economic cost of fraud
NERA Economic Consulting, 2000

As part of the exercise to establish the overall impact of crime on the UK economy (above, this page), Siôn Jones, Phil Maggs and David Lewis at NERA were commissioned to produce this study which shows the cost of fraud in 1999 to have been of the order of £14 billion, included in our £60 billion estimate for the total cost of crime. 

Link: NERA Economic Consulting


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