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Estimating the Financial Costs of Crime Victimization: Study Delineates Research Needs To Inform Victim Services Policies, Programs (2021)

Crime victimization is a vast social harm. Its full cost to individuals and communities is still unknown, but the ultimate financial tally is estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars - up to 6% of the gross domestic product. Criminal justice system policymakers and practitioners could benefit from more complete and precise crime victimization cost data and tools to reset the baseline for proportionate allocation of remedial resources. Better data could drive more equitable crime victim support, including direct victim compensation and other victim services. A research team led by the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA) identified in detail research needs to support victim services policy and practice. JRSA partnered with the Urban Institute and the National Center for Victims of Crime on the study, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice. The study’s objectives were to develop an understanding of what information is needed most by those who serve victims of crime, and examine ways to quantify crimes committed by institutions - such as businesses and non-profits - while recognizing that it is often individuals who ultimately suffer. Some of the study’s recommendations for future victimization cost research, presented in more detail in the research report, were to: 1) comprehensively summarize existing research and resources; 2) study repeat and series victimization; 3) study hard-to-reach victim subpopulations; and 4) develop conventions to measure uncertainty in victimization cost estimates.

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