Edited by Bruce L. Benson and Paul R. Zimmerman
Chapter 11: The Economic Costs of Criminal Activity: A Discussion of Methodological Approaches and Empirical Estimates
Allen K. Lynch The foregoing reflections authorize me to assert, that crimes are only to be measured by the injury done to society. (Beccaria, 1764) INTRODUCTION Criminal activity is quite costly. And, as Beccaria (1764) proclaimed in his much-heralded seminal thesis on the subject, the costs of criminal activity have indeed a societal scope. The costs of crime range from the very obvious to the indirect and intangible. From private wallets and public coffers, billions of dollars are spent each year in the hopes of preventing crime, and billions more are lost as a result of crime. Still billions more are lost as victims live in pain and potential victims live in fear. The need for the development of an understanding of the nature and extent of the costs of crime exists within many disciplines. As a consequence, perspectives on the costly nature of criminal activity have emerged from multiple perspectives and through the application of multiple techniques. In this chapter, I hope to shed some light on our current understanding of the nature of the costs of crime through a critical analysis of the literature in the area. In pursuit of this objective, an enumeration of the parties affected by criminal activity will be followed by a discussion of the numerous estimation techniques employed in gaging the extent of these costs. As will become apparent, many of the costs of criminal activity are quite difficult to measure; therefore general weaknesses of each approach will be examined. The total costs...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.