Costs of Crime, Experts Report Challenges Estimating Costs and Suggest Improvements to Better Inform Policy Decisions, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the Document: "Crime and society's response to it pose significant costs to the United States. The Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that federal, state, and local governments collectively spent over $280 billion in fiscal year 2012 (adjusted to 2016 dollars) on criminal justice programs such as police protection, the court system, and incarceration. There are also many other financial and nonfinancial effects of crime that researchers consider when estimating the total costs of crime in the United States. These can include tangible costs such as replacing damaged property or medical care to treat victims' injuries, and intangible costs such as changes in people's behavior to avoid crime, among many other costs. Researchers have estimated varying annual costs of crime, including totals of $690 billion, $1.57 trillion, and $3.41 trillion, adjusted to 2016 dollars. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to examine issues related to estimating the costs of crime committed in the United States. This report examines: 1) how experts estimate the cost of crime in the United States, and the challenges they face, and 2) the actions experts have considered in order to improve the understanding and use of cost of crime research. To answer these questions, GAO worked with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to identify and survey experts in fields associated with estimating the cost of crime, including criminology, economics, public health, public policy, and statistics, among others. GAO also reviewed 27 studies that estimated the cost of crime in the United States, published from 1996 to 2017."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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