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June 6, 2014

How much does each individual crime cost victims and society on average in the U.S.?

That was the subject of a 2010 paper by Kathryn McCollister, Michael French and Hai Fang, in which they tabulated the direct, indirect and total cost of various types of crime in the United States. We've taken the data they originally presented in terms of 2008 U.S. dollars and updated in to be in terms of 2014 U.S. dollars to create both the chart below and the more detailed table presented below it:

Total Tangible Plus Intangible Per-Offense Cost for Different Crimes in the U.S., 2014 U.S. Dollars

The table below provides these total figures and also breaks down both the tangible (direct) costs and the intangible (indirect) costs of each type of crime.

Tangible Plus Intangible Per-Offense Cost for Different Crimes in the U.S., 2014 U.S. Dollars
Type of Offense Tangible Cost Intangible Cost Total Cost
Murder $1,415,085 $9,295,559 $9,891,157
Rape/Sexual Assault $45,423 $219,828 $265,121
Aggravated Assault $21,441 $104,631 $117,841
Robbery $23,534 $24,858 $46,588
Arson $18,090 $5,652 $23,237
Motor Vehicle Theft $11,599 $288 $11,861
Stolen Property $8,780 N/A $8,780
Household Burglary $6,793 $353 $7,115
Embezzlement $6,034 N/A $6,034
Forgery and Counterfeiting $5,797 N/A $5,797
Fraud $5,541 N/A $5,541
Vandalism $5,351 N/A $5,351
Larceny/Theft $3,879 $11 $3,889

We should note that the total cost of each type of crime does not necessarily equal the sum of the tangible and intangible costs, as there is some overlap in the accounting of various costs that go into the individual tangible and intangible categories.


McCollister, Kathryn E., French, Michael T. and Fang, Hai. The Cost of Crime to Society: New Crime-Specific Estimates for Policy and Program Evaluation. Drug Alcohol Depend. Apr 1, 2010; 108(1-2): 98–109. Published online Jan 13, 2010. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.12.002. Table 5.

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