Incidence and Costs of Personal and Property Crimes in the United States, 2017
30 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2020
Date Written: January 6, 2020
Total cost estimates for crime in the United States are both out-of-date and incomplete. We estimated incidence and costs of personal crimes (both violent and non-violent) and property crimes in 2017. Incidence came from national arrest data, multi-state estimates of police-reported crimes per arrest, national victimization and road crash surveys, and police underreporting studies. We updated and expanded upon published unit costs. Estimated crime costs totaled $2.1 trillion ($623 billion in monetary costs plus quality of life losses valued at $1.5 trillion). Violent crime accounted for 80% of costs. Principal contributors to the 8.3 million quality-adjusted life years lost were sexual violence, physical assault/robbery, and child maltreatment. Monetary expenditures caused by criminal victimization represent 3% of GDP – equivalent to the amount spent on national defense. These estimates exclude the additional costs of preventing and avoiding crime such as enhanced lighting and burglar alarms. They also exclude crimes against businesses and most white-collar and corporate offenses.
Keywords: cost of crime, criminal justice policy, violent crime, property crime, child maltreatment, sexual assault
JEL Classification: D61, K42, H40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation