The true costs of crime are sometimes hard to really get your hands around. There are many ways in which the entire community suffers when a crime is committed. It isn't just the victims, or the criminals that have to pay the price when a crime is committed, but the society at large has to pay the cost. There are multiple costs to crime, and some have nothing to do with the crime itself, but effect us all in some ways. What are the true costs of crime on society?
When a criminal commits an act, that criminal directly effects the rest of the life of the victim. When the victim has been the victim of an attack, they too will have a burden to bear. The criminal will have to live the rest of his life knowing that he has hurt someone, and the victim will have to always watch out, and may not feel as safe as they used to feel before they became the victim of a crime. This is the direct cost of crime for the criminal and the victim.
More importantly though, the criminal will have to pay the price of committing the crime. Whether it be paying back any money that was stolen, or going to jail, there will be a consequence for the action. If the criminal is unable to pay for the restitution, or cannot afford a lawyer, that criminal is provided one. This effects the community because it takes tax dollars to pay for a public defender, and that is money that is paid by citizens. If there is a high rate of crime, there could be higher taxes to pay for more jails, or for more public defenders.
There is an emotional toll that comes with crime. If people don't feel as safe as they once did, they may feel differently about the people they live with. They might also feel differently about the town that they live in too. It might not be as fun to walk the streets at night, or go out and see the sights that are to be seen. People may feel as if they need to protect themselves, and might turn to guns, or just not going out anymore for fear of being the victim of a crime.
Businesses might not locate to a town with a high crime rate. This creates a strain on the economy, and the loss of potential jobs. Combined with a fear of crime, a lack of jobs may force people to leave the area. If people leave, it could turn a town into a ghost town, or a town where only criminals can thrive. This becomes a headache for the local government, and it can take a long time to turn a town around after it has fallen to the control of crime.
Crime is something that affects everyone. If there is crime, there is no economy, except for that of criminal behavior. There are no jobs, there are no places to visit at night, and there is a sense of trust that is missing from the community. People can all can be affected by crime, and it goes farther than just a criminal committing a crime on an unsuspecting victim.