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Friday, 22 December, 2000, 15:27 GMT
Cost of crime hits 60bn
Crime scene
Crime costs each person more than 1,000 a year
Crime costs households in England and Wales an estimated 60 billion a year, new figures reveal.

Though wounding accounts for only 1% of all crimes, it accounts for more than a quarter of the cost of crime at an estimated 15.6 billion a year, according to the Home Office.

It is the first time that the government has tried to collate figures on the cost of crime.

On average a violent crime involving wounding costs 19,000 comprising pain and loss for the victim, medical costs and police investigation time.

Wounding remains the most expensive crime overall despite an 11% decrease between 1997 and 1999, according to the British Crime Survey published in October.

Pain and suffering

Home Office minister Charles Clarke estimates that the pain and suffering for victims alone can cost them up to 6,000, or 30 % of the total cost of a wounding assault.

Home Office minister Charles Clarke
Home Office minister Charles Clarke says crime has many 'hidden costs'

"This serves to underline the urgency with which we need to tackle this problem and build on the work already underway which we supported with 20 million extra earlier this year.

"This report highlights that there is a hidden `cost of crime' - the pain and trauma suffered by victims."

The average cost of a vehicle robbery is 4,800 and the average cost of criminal damage is 510.

Fraud costs England and Wales an estimated 14 billion every year, the Home Office says.

It is the first time the government has tried to estimate the cost of crime on both individuals and society as a whole.

The study does not take into account effects such as the cost of crime prevention, quality of life, drug crime, low level disorder, undiscovered fraud and the cost to Britain's social structure.

Cost of crime
Each murder costs an average of 1.1m
Each wounding costs an average of 19,000
The average car theft costs 4,800
Fraud costs 14 billion
Criminal damage costs 510

People in England and Wales reported a 10% drop in crime between 1997 and 1999 in the British Crime Survey.

But their perception was that things had got worse. Two thirds of those questioned believed the situation had deteriorated in between 1997 and 1999.

Burglary dropped by 21% to its lowest level since 1982.

Car theft and thefts from vehicles were also considerably lower, but robbery was up by 14% and assaults where the victim did not know the attacker were up by 29%.

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