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Economical Crime Control: Perspectives from Both Sides of the Ledger

NCJ Number
Philip J. Cook
Date Published
December 2011
8 pages
This is the video and transcript of a presentation that examines the comparative cost of crime and crime control, with attention to an economic decision about how much a society is willing to spend on crime control in order to avoid an unacceptable cost of crime.
The presenter is Philip J. Cook, Professor of Economics and Sociology at Duke University. He first discusses the merger of the sciences of economics and criminology in the analysis of the cost of crime and the cost of crime control, as well as the impact of these costs on the larger economy that relies on percentages of income that are available for consumer purchases of products and services unrelated to the costs of crime or crime control. Other issues discussed are the maintenance of low levels of crime costs while increasing the efficiencies of crime control, which stabilizes or reduces crime costs while reducing crime-control costs. This is the purpose of the current emphasis on the cost-effective analysis of various crime control measures that encompass law enforcement, courts, and corrections operations. Other cost issues discussed in the presentation are the cost of private security, which is increasing, and the cost to individuals and families when a large number of persons are incarcerated. This impacts their subsequent employment, income, consumption of products and services, and ability to support the needs of their families. Crime prevention through a reduction in opportunities for crime and an increase in alternatives to crime is also mentioned as an important cost-effective crime-control resource.


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