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Tuesday, September 15, 1998 Published at 04:09 GMT 05:09 UK


Crime costs £35bn a year - insurers

Burglary: Many people's nightmare, but offences are down

Crime costs the economy £35bn a year - or £31 per week for every household in the UK, according to the nations' insurance companies.

Bob Sinkinson reports: Cost of crime appears to be rocketing
In its first audit on the cost of crime, the Association of British Insurers says the financial implications are "startling".

The figures mean more money is spent tackling and preventing crime than on the entire defence budget, which totals £23bn a year.

About £40bn is spent on education and £45bn on the National Health Service.

The £31-a-week crime bill for every household includes:

  • £11 lost through benefit, credit card and other types of fraud
  • £8 spent on security and crime prevention measures
  • £7 on policing
  • £2 on insurance and the rest on other costs, including running the criminal justice system.

The Deputy Director General of the ABI, Tony Baker, is due to present the figures to the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales conference on Tuesday.

He says there has been a significant shift in the balance of costs in the past five years.

John Young: "We're spending more of our own money"
A drop in some types of crime means the cost of stolen property is falling, while more money is being spent running the police, prisons, preventing crime and on security measures.

[ image: Recorded car crime is falling]
Recorded car crime is falling
Mr Baker said: "We are seeing a fall in the number of recorded offences, particularly burglaries and car crime, and this is leading to lower insurance claims and reduced insurance premiums.

"This is being achieved at the price of increases in the amount spent in security and prevention measures, the police and prison service.

"I hope that, by keeping up the pressure on criminals, we will eventually reduce the overall cost of crime."

Recorded crime fell in 1997 for the fifth year in a row, to about 4.6m total incidents.

Burglaries and thefts of or from cars fell by 14%, although there was an increase in violent and sexual offences.

The PSA conference in Bristol will also be considering the human cost of crime.

Delegates will hear from Robert Smith, whose 18-year-old daughter Louise was murdered on her way home from a disco near Bristol in December 1995.

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