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Economic and Social Effects of Crime

Making Personal Adjustments

Though violent attacks account for only about 10 percent of crime, they affect people's lives the most. Fear is a major factor influencing how people lead their lives. Violent crimes are not only the most costly crimes but also the most reported in the media. The high costs and publicity further raise the fear of crime. The costs are both monetary and emotional.

Most people fear attacks by strangers despite the fact that most assaults are by someone familiar to the victim. As a result people will seek daily routines that provide a feeling of security. These routines, however, can have the opposite effect. If a person follows the exact same routine every day, a criminal can easily predict where that person will be at a certain time. In such cases, the most important factor in crime prevention is to be aware of one's surroundings and avoid high risk areas.

A crime victim or someone especially fearful of crime may alter his or her normal routine, take self-defense classes, avoid certain areas, and even carry weapons. The hazards in every part of life are constantly being determined in a person's mind to estimate the possible danger. In crime prevention, law enforcement uses a similar calculation of risks in deciding where Royal Canadian mounted police cadets participate in a self-defense training class. (© Paul A. Souders/Corbis)
to assign patrols or to alter an area to reduce potential of crime. Such measures might include adding more lighting or reducing the amount of cover in a park where a criminal might hide in wait of a victim.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawEconomic and Social Effects of Crime - Growing Interest In The Costs Of Crime, Determining Costs, The High Cost Of Crime, Community Efforts To Avoid Crime Costs