Prevent crime and save money: Return-on-investment models in Australia

Abstract

Finding effective ways to prevent crime is important. This project was designed to demonstrate the feasibility of combining data from a 12-year Australian longitudinal study (N=2,885) with prevention strategy investment data to estimate potential returns, including a reduction in intimate partner violence and prison entry. The project investigated the return on investment achievable in Victoria with a $150 million investment in a mix of six evidence based prevention strategies. The study estimated that the 10-year lag effect of investing an extra $150 million was a five percent reduction in incarceration and a four percent reduction in cases of intimate partner violence involving physical force. The net return from the $150 million investment in prevention was conservatively estimated at $191 million. It appears feasible and cost-effective to prevent intimate partner violence, while also reducing incarceration rates.