NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Crime Costs

May 9, 1996

The costs of the 49 million crimes and attempted crimes against Americans each year are staggering.

A recent report from the National Institute of Justice advances some eye-popping figures.

  • Crime costs Americans some $105 billion each year in medical bills and lost earnings.
  • Adding pain and suffering, as well as the reduced quality of life, the total climbs to $450 billion each year -- roughly $1,800 for each man, woman and child in the country.
  • Violent crime -- including drunken driving, child abuse and arson -- accounts for $426 billion of the total, with property crime accounting for the remainder.
  • Compensation to crime victims from insurers is $45 billion annually.

The figures do not include the cost of running the criminal justice system or private actions taken to cut crime -- such as hiring guards or buying security systems.

  • Violent crimes consume 3 percent of all U.S. medical spending and 14 percent of all injury-related medical spending.
  • Violent crime causes wage losses equal to 1 percent of all American earnings.

Source: Perspective, "Crime's Cost," Investor's Business Daily, May 9, 1996.


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