Australian Institute of Criminology

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Costs of crime

Crime facts info no. 169

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, April 2008

The Australian Institute of Criminology has released a paper assessing some of the major costs of crime in 2005 (Rollings 2008). The paper estimates costs for a range of offences as well as the criminal justice system. The overall cost of crime in Australia amounts to nearly $36b per year, which is 4.1 percent of national gross domestic product. The total cost of homicide is $950m and carries the highest cost per victim, equalling about $1.9m per incident. Assault costs $1.4b per year, with an average of $1,700 per assault. Sexual assault costs $720m overall, with an average cost of $7,500 per incident. Burglary costs $2.2b overall and $2,900 per incident. Fraud accounts for the largest percentage of crime costs at an estimated $8.5b (40%). This is a substantial increase from estimates in 2001 (Mayhew 2003), when fraud offences accounted for 31 percent of crime costs. This increase can be attributed partly to the increases in electronically assisted crimes such as cybercrime and identify theft, and highlights that growth areas of crime such as fraud require additional research to enable reliable and robust estimates of costs.

Crimes as a percentage of total costs

Source: Rollings (2008)

References