Australian Institute of Criminology

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Costs of crime

Crime facts info no. 50

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, May 2003

The Australian Institute of Criminology has released a paper assessing some of the major costs of crime for a range of offences. The overall cost of crime in Australia amounts to nearly $32 billion per year, which is nearly $1,600 per person and five per cent of GDP. The total cost of homicide is $930 million, and homicide carries the highest cost per victim, equalling about $1.6 million. Assault costs $1.4 billion per year, with an average of $1,800 per assault. Sexual assault costs $230 million overall, with an average cost of $2,500 per incident. A clear message is that despite a relatively low number of incidents (compared to non-violent crime), violent offences account for a large proportion of the costs of crime in Australia. Burglary is also more costly than would be suggested by the proportion of offences it comprises. The total cost is $2,410 million, or $2,400 per burglary. The cost of robbery in Australia is $600 million, with an average of $3,600 per incident. Theft of vehicles costs $880 million overall, with an average of $6,000 for each vehicle stolen (the second highest incident cost after homicide). Incidents of shoplifting are numerous (52 per cent of all the crimes costed) but, as the average unit cost is relatively small, overall costs are less than for some other offences.

Incidents and costs of crime

chart

Source

  • Mayhew, P. 2003, "Counting the Costs of Crime in Australia", Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, no. 247, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.