Incidence and Costs of Personal and Property Crimes in the United States, 2017

43 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2020 Last revised: 7 Oct 2020

See all articles by Ted R. Miller

Ted R. Miller

National Public Services Research Institute

Mark A. Cohen

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics; Vanderbilt University - Law School; Resources for the Future

David I. Swedler

Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE)

Bina Ali

Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE)

Delia V. Hendrie

Independent

Date Written: October 6, 2020

Abstract

Total cost estimates for crime in the United States are both out-of-date and incomplete.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 $2.6
trillion ($620 billion in monetary costs plus quality of life losses valued at $1.95 trillion; 95%
uncertainty interval $2.2 - $3.0 trillion). Violent crime accounted for 85% of costs. Principal
contributors to the 10.9 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

Miller, Ted R. and Cohen, Mark A. and Swedler, David and Ali, Bina and Hendrie, Delia V., Incidence and Costs of Personal and Property Crimes in the United States, 2017 (October 6, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3514296 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3514296

Ted R. Miller (Contact Author)

National Public Services Research Institute ( email )

Mark A. Cohen

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States
615-322-0533 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://business.vanderbilt.edu/bio/mark-cohen/

Vanderbilt University - Law School

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
202-328-5000 (Phone)

David Swedler

Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) ( email )

11720 Beltsville Drive, Suite 900
Calverton, MD 20705
United States

Bina Ali

Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) ( email )

11720 Beltsville Drive, Suite 900
Calverton, MD 20705
United States

Delia V. Hendrie

Independent ( email )

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
259
Abstract Views
1,633
rank
164,031
PlumX Metrics