Friday, July 04, 2008

The cost of crime

Today a new report I've written titled The Cost of Crime (PDF) has been released. It uses Home Office studies of the national cost of crime, and their estimates of the average cost per incident, along with crime statistics provided by police forces in response to Freedom of Information requests (unfortunately...).

It follows on from a paper (PDF) released during the mayoral race with calculations for the London boroughs but expands coverage to the entire country. The results are shown on a map to the right (darker = worse, blue = no usable response). The clearest pattern is that urban areas suffer the worst cost of crime.

I think the link between various behaviours (likelihood of driving to work is another example) and population density is both obvious and underappreciated. Greens trying to get people out of cars would, if they looked at the numbers, quickly have to conclude that the obvious solution is to move everyone into cities. Yet, that isn't exactly a proposal you'll hear a lot of.

The cost of recorded crime, £275 per person, discovered by our study is high enough that the even the low crime areas, like Surrey at £194 should clearly be aiming to cut crime rates; particularly when you remember that recorded crime is thought to be just a fraction of total crime. Direct, democratic control of police forces needs to be put in place so that the police can spend their time fighting crime rather than trying to satisfy the bureaucracy. For more on the subject either read the report or see this video produced for Friction TV:

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