Daily Telegraph: Violent crime costs each household pounds 1,000 a year

Friday, 18 September, 2009

VIOLENT CRIME is costing every household more than pounds 1,000 a year as the Conservatives warn the true level of offences is now more than two million.

Killings, assaults and other attacks have increased sharply since 1998 and are estimated to be twice the level of official statistics.

It means the total cost to the country, in everything from insurance and loss of earnings to policing and court cases, hit pounds 25.6 billion last year, according to a study by the Tories.

Ministers were accused of failing to address the impact of violence on Britain's streets. Figures earlier this month showed someone is attacked by a stranger every minute but only one in five offences is solved.

David Ruffley, the shadow police minister who carried out the research, said: "A decade of violent crime is now costing every household more than pounds 1,000 a year at a time when those households are being hammered by Gordon Brown's recession.

"The soaring cost of violence is a sad indictment of Labour's failure to get a grip on these crimes on our streets.

"Until we get on top of the problem, taxpayers will continue having to foot the bill.''

Police recorded 903,993 violent offences against the person in 2008-09, up from 502,778 in 1998-99.

However, only around 42 per cent of violent crime is reported, meaning the true figure is expected to be more than 2.2 million, the report finds.

Using the Home Office's own calculations, it is estimated that a violent crime cost around pounds 11,848 last year.

That is made up of anticipation costs, such as spending on security and insurance; the consequences, such as health care, victim support and loss of earnings; and the costs of responding to the crime, such as policing and the criminal justice system.

It means the cost of violent crime in England and Wales last year was pounds 25.6 billion - or pounds 1,121 for each of the 22.8 million households. In comparison, there were an estimated 1.4 million violent crimes in 1998-99, leaving a national cost of pounds 17 billion across the then 21 million households - or pounds 801 per household.