Criminal justice policy decisions are increasingly being influenced by the ratio of the monetary benefits to the monetary costs. While policies based on evidence and analysed via cost-benefit studies are a welcome development, cost-benefit calculations are only as robust as the data upon which they are based. For England and Wales up to the present, cost-of-crime estimates used in cost-benefit analyses have been calculated by the Home Office using a multi-method approach. However, the intangible costs of crime have not been estimated adequately in England and Wales.
The main aim was to quantify the intangible costs of crime using the willingness-to-pay (WTP) method. Also, stated preferences for different crime reduction methods were investigated.
This study utilises samples from the City of Cambridge (n = 534) and from Criminal Justice Practitioners (n = 124), to assess their WTP to prevent a range of crimes from happening in their neighbourhood, and their preferred crime reduction techniques. A Contingent Valuation Survey (CVS) was used.
Overall, both samples gave a higher WTP for low volume, high harm crimes than for high volume, low harm crimes. Both samples supported funding youth programmes in preference to other forms of crime reduction initiatives.
It is proposed that a CVS should be included in the next Crime Survey for England and Wales, in order to collect relevant WTP data on crime at the national level.