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A Note on the Cost of Crime to Victims


  • Mark A. Cohen

    (Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37203, USA)


Hedonic pricing models have been used to infer the cost of crime by estimating property value differences in high versus low crime areas. However, previous studies have been unable to disentangle the cost of individual crimes. This note reports on an attempt to estimate the cost of individual crimes by examining the pain, suffering and fear endured by crime victims. Actual victim injury rates are combined with jury awards in personal injury accident cases to estimate pain, suffering and fear. Crime-related death rates are combined with estimates of the value of life to arrive at monetary values for the risk of death. Not only does this approach yield crime-specific cost estimates, but these estimates are quite consistent with the property value methods of valuing aggregate crime.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark A. Cohen, 1990. "A Note on the Cost of Crime to Victims," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 27(1), pages 139-146, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:27:y:1990:i:1:p:139-146

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    Cited by:

    1. Allen K. Lynch, 2010. "The Economic Costs of Criminal Activity: A Discussion of Methodological Approaches and Empirical Estimates," Chapters, in: Bruce L. Benson & Paul R. Zimmerman (ed.),Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 11, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Compton, Andrew, 2019. "Decomposing the Societal Opportunity Costs of Property Crime," MPRA Paper 97002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Rodrigo R. Soares, 2003. "The Welfare Cost of Violence (New Version: Corrected Calculations)," Law and Economics 0312003, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 13 Sep 2004.

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