The Cost of Crime

Margret Adams, BSN

When I think about crime the saying that comes to mind is “Crime Doesn’t Pay.” When I think about the economic, emotional and psychological impact of crime on the persons impacted by a criminal act I know it costs the individuals and community a lot.  This cost is not reflected in the cold facts that are usually reported after the crime is committed. The cost to the people affected by the crime is usually not discussed in a public forum.  I would like to visit criminal acts and point out the cost to the individuals and the cost to the community at large.

Let’s start with the theft of property.  This can be a stolen car, a home burglary or identity theft.  The cost to the victim is the value of their property. These types of thefts can cause a person’s auto and homeowners insurance to increase and these increases are generally applied to communities where this type of theft occurs more frequently.  Increases in insurance premiums can be financially burdensome on a community that struggles to meet its basic living expenses.  The emotional and psychological cost is the feeling of being violated, and fear due to loss of safety. Identity theft costs the victim their time; the time it takes to replace and correct any financial damages. Victims may lose needed benefits by not having required ID.

When a person has been physically assaulted the harm is usually in plain sight.  What is not often seen is the long term physical, psychological and emotional damage to the person.  Nor do we talk about the cost for medical care, or the loss of the person’s ability to earn a living or provide care for family members while the person is recovering. Gunshot wounds that cause paralysis result in a costly medical life for the victim.  There are long term medical risks that are burdensome on the person and the caregivers. Medical complications are frequent and can be life threatening. These victims have a greater risk of having a shorter life expectancy.

When a life is ended due to murder there are no words to express the harm done to the loved ones left behind. There are no words to describe the long term emotional and psychological damage done to the people who were in the victim’s life. Quite often families are not prepared for the expenses involved in making final arrangements for their loved one. Life is something to be valued and everyone deserves to live their life out to its natural end.

For the perpetrators of criminal acts there is a cost to you and your families also.  The cost to you is the probability that you will become incarcerated and become a slave in the prison system. If you are released after serving time you will find it difficult to obtain employment, you may lose your right to vote and you have lost time for living your life with the rest of us.  It will cost you, your family and friends money to provide you with legal representation or we as a community will have to pay for your public defender through our tax dollars.  There’s the cost that people pay to visit you and provide you with the means to get things you need or want while incarcerated.

Space will not permit me to elaborate in more detail the burdensome cost of a crime.  I only write this so that we will all think about its cost both on a personal and community level.

Leave a Reply