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Statistics: Costs of Crime - Conclusion

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Research on the costs of crime is important for understanding crime as a social problem. It also has the potential to influence policymaking on issues of crime and justice. First and foremost, it indicates the significance of crime as a social problem. Without even considering costs associated with individual and societal responses to crime, crime undermines quality of life and has significant personal costs for those most affected. Second, this work suggests an important avenue of social policy: minimizing both the direct and indirect costs of crime. Although prevention is clearly the most potent avenue for minimizing costs, other strategies that attack the various ways in which crime-related costs are incurred are also important. Third, this work provides an important means of evaluating current crime prevention and criminal justice practices. Estimates of the costs of crime can be compared with the costs of particular criminal justice initiatives and policies to assess the overall efficiency of criminal justice responses. With the increased expenditure on police and prisons in the late twentieth century, such comparisons seem both timely and important. Ultimately, estimating the costs of crime should play a key role in the development of effective social policy to reduce crime.

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