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Counting the costs of crime in Australia : a 2005 update

Research and public policy series no. 91

Kiah Rollings
ISBN 978 1 921185 79 3 ISSN 1326-6004
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, June 2008

Abstract

Australian Institute of Criminology research in 2003 examined the costs of crime to the Australian community. This current report provides an update to the previous work by estimating the costs of crime for 2005. While relying primarily on data from the United Kingdom and United States, some Australian data provide general estimates of crime-related costs. The total costs of crime cover components of the criminal justice systems: police, courts, corrections, and other criminal justice-related government agencies; and the costs of fraud. The report covers a range of crimes against people and property, fraud, and drug-related crimes. Estimates for each of these cover the general characteristics of incidents, property loss, medical costs, lost output and intangible costs. Notwithstanding the considerable difficulties in estimating costs of crime, which are described in this report, the estimated costs of crime for 2005 are $35.8b. The report highlights the need for improved availability of Australian crime data. Emerging challenges for research that informs government policy include cybercrimes - comprising fraud and identity theft - arson and bushfires, theft from motor vehicles, shop theft, estimates of intangible losses and lost output, estimates of lost business productivity due to criminal activity and national injury estimates.