Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Costs of Crime
Mark A. Cohen
Crime imposes many costs on society. Victims and their families suffer in many ways: medical costs, earnings losses, and damaged or stolen property. Other costs, such as double-bolt locks for doors or guard dogs for protection, are imposed upon people who are not victims. Some costs are difficult to quantify—such as the pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life endured by victims. Understanding the costs of crime is important. Criminal justice policy decisions always involve choices between two or more alternatives, each having its own costs and benefits. The enumeration of costs and benefits puts these alternatives on a level playing field and can help policy makers make more informed decisions. For example, if a criminal justice agency can fund only one new program at a cost of $1 million, should it prevent 100 household burglaries or 10 rapes? Which is worse? Is either program worth funding? These questions are ...