What is Crime?
The negative social and economic impacts of crime seep into the very fabric of our community. We lose a sense of place, of connection, of safety, and of our ability to pay for necessities. And yet, current economic measures actually show crime to be a positive. When a resident pays for security systems, bars, locks, and even re-buy stolen property, all of those payments are seen positively with the Gross State Product. Any and all personal expenditures related to crime must be seen as the negative force it is.
Why is Crime Important?
The greatest obligation of government at any level: municipal, county, state, national, is to make our neighborhoods safer places and not to put up a flag of surrender to gangs, to drug violence, or to those who would have us live in fear. Everything we do should strengthen and grow the ranks of an increasingly diverse and upwardly mobile middle-class. The safety of our people and our families is tantamount to everything we seek to achieve by expanding opportunities to more people, rather than fewer.
How has Crime Changed Over the Years?
Crime rates regarding property and safety have held steady over the past few years. Accordingly, expenditures relating to personal safety and repurchasing stolen goods parallel this trend.
Methodology & Data Sources
For calculating the cost of crime, an updated methodology was developed that is fundamentally different from that of other GPI studies. Previous studies only captured the direct out-of-pocket expenses from crime victims replacing damaged and stolen property and defensive spending to guard against crime, like alarms, locks, and related equipment. All previous studies acknowledged that this methodology neglected the much higher damages inflicted on the well-being of crime victims through trauma, fear, and physical damages. To account for this, we used calculations from the Department of Justice on such costs.
Crime numbers were taken from the Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention statistics, combined with data from disastercenter.com for earlier years. Both were checked for consistency with annual crime reports. Each crime was then multiplied with the associated costs, both quality of life effects and property losses, from research by the National Institute of Justice at the U.S. Department of Justice into Victim Costs and Consequences.
Spending on locks, alarms, and security services was not included due to the limited availability of data and a negligible impact on total numbers. Overall, this approach provided a still conservative estimate that captures the real effects of crime better than most previous GPI studies.
(Number of each Crime) Multiplied by (Victim Cost Estimate for each Crime)
Points of Contact
Did you know...
- Crime in Maryland decreased 9 percent during the first 6 months of 2009 when compared to the same time period in 2008
- Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia work together to supervise offenders crossing jurisdictional borders for criminal purposes
- Baltimore City had a 28% reduction in homicides when compared against a comparable point in time during the previous year, and a 30% drop in non-fatal shootings
- Maryland, Virginia, and District of Columbia supervision agents (i.e., Maryland Division of Parole and Probation agents) receive electronic notification when their clients are arrested in Maryland
- Since December 2007, the State of Maryland has eliminated a DNA backlog of over 24,000 samples, assisting law enforcement in closing cold cases, including rapes and murders
- As of November 2009, 159 convicted offender hits this year have resulted in 78 arrests
- As of November 2009, 10 arrests and 35 hits have resulted from the 2008 DNA legislation requiring certain charged offenders to submit DNA