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The Aggregate Burden of Crime

  • Anderson, David A

This study estimates the total annual cost of criminal behavior in the United States. While past research has typically focused on particular costs, regions, or crime categories, this general study estimates all of the direct and indirect costs of crime for the entire nation. In addition to aggregating expenses commonly associated with unlawful activity, it considers ancillary costs that have not yet been included in an overall formula for the cost of crime. Beyond the expenses of the legal system, victim losses, and crime-prevention agencies, the burden of crime encompasses the opportunity costs of victims', criminals', and prisoners' time; the fear of being victimized; and the cost of private deterrence. More accurate information on the repercussions of crime could guide our legal, political, and cultural stance toward crime and allow informed prioritization of programs that curtail criminal activity. The net annual burden of crime is found to exceed $1 trillion. Copyright 1999 by the University of Chicago.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.

Volume (Year): 42 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 611-42

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:42:y:1999:i:2:p:611-42
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