Blog Articles

The Social and Economic Impact of Crime on Communities

By Rob Wolf
Vice President, NC4 Public Safety

High crime rates inflict an immense cost on a community, both socially and economically. Communities and law enforcement agencies today require a modern set of strategies and tactics to keep communities safe in order to reduce crime rates. Proactive, intelligence-led policing has shown to have a far-reaching, positive socioeconomic impact.

Law Enforcement | The social and Economic Impact of Crime

The Hit to Economic Growth

Businesses within a high crime area often experience a negative economic impact.  If a community is also a popular tourist destination but gains a reputation as a crime-ridden city, the number of annual visitors may likely decrease.  As a result, business owners can experience a severe reduction in income or they may shut down forever.

Law Enforcement Personnel and Victim Costs

Not only do law enforcement agencies incur costs when a crime occurs, but the victims often do as well, sometimes too financially difficult to overcome.  Victims may lose their home or job or suffer physical injuries that require long-term hospitalization. In a few seconds, lives are altered forever.

Police that are called to the scene can be injured as well, leading to personal costs to regain their health or even the loss of a job they love.  Ongoing costs can also be incurred, even after an incident.  For example, a victim might feel the need to install a home security system or law enforcement agencies may have to increase the number of police on duty in an area deemed high risk.

Aside from the fact that victims and officers may experience personal injury, costs are far reaching for the cities they occur within.  Communities spend millions of taxpayer dollars annually to pay the salaries of local government employees and the costs to supervise and incarcerate those convicted.

In 2010, the United States spent more than $80 billion on corrections expenditures at the federal, state, and local levels according to a report published by the Hamilton Project. When including expenditures for police protection and judicial and legal services, the direct costs of crime rose to $261 billion.

The Social Effects on Victims' Families

Not only do the victims suffer, but so do their families. This is especially true with violent crimes and those that may have witnessed the crime.  For children that witness a violent crime against a parent or family member, they may require a lifetime of health care costs to address a resulting mental health condition.

Victims and their families often find their education disrupted or discontinued altogether due to illness or injury after a serious crime.  The majority of the costs associated with crimes often occur in the first year, until a verdict is reached or the individual is released from jail. But, family members may struggle financially for decades or a lifetime.

For example, in 2010 approximately 2.7 million children, or over 3 percent of all children in the United States, had a parent in prison. Consider also that most parents incarcerated are men, who can no longer pay child support while in prison, leaving a single mother with the responsibility for finances and the challenge of raising a child alone. Additionally, young children (ages two to six) and school-aged children of incarcerated parents have been shown to have emotional problems and to demonstrate weak academic performance and behavioral problems, respectively.

At NC4 we are committed to helping law enforcement agencies impact their communities in a positive way and to get more from the tireless hours they spend fighting crime.  We believe that real-time access to critical data through NC4 Street Smart® provides law enforcement with the sophisticated technology needed in the field to prevent crimes.  With the help of visualized data, police can reduce the negative socioeconomic impact that victims and communities experience because of crime.

For information about law enforcement technology solutions available to your organization, contact us today.

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July 17, 2017