Impact of crime on communities and society

Crime does not just affect individuals. Communities which experience higher levels of crime are also adversely affected:

  • people may become frightened inside or outside their own home
  • home insurance premiums can rise
  • property prices are affected
  • homeowners can find it more difficult to sell their property
  • new businesses may avoid the area
  • existing businesses may close down due to:
    • repeated thefts and loss of income
    • costs of repairing damage from vandalism
    • loss of customers in the area

Cost of crime to businesses

Crimes such as shoplifting and fraud cost businesses in the UK billions of pounds each year. In 2015, the cost of business crime in Scotland was over £5 billion.

Increasingly thieves are moving away from more traditional crimes such as robberies and are instead looking to use the internet to commit crime. Cybercrime mainly involves stealing highly confidential information. Access to this type of information can result in thieves stealing vast amounts of money.

Certain UK companies such as banks, insurance companies and energy suppliers have recently been the victims of internet crime. Altogether, at least a third of all crime relating to business is connected to the internet.

To prevent cybercrime, the Scottish and UK governments have set up special internet crime units. Working alongside businesses, the Scottish Business Crime Centre aims to use the latest ICT security technology to catch internet thieves.

Paying for crime

The cost of policing in Scotland in 2015 was £1.75 billion.

Both the Scottish and UK governments spend billions of pounds dealing with the consequences of crime. To do this, government must either increase taxes or spend more from the tax revenues they already collect. Therefore, if crime levels rise, there will be less money for other services such as education and healthcare.

Crime also costs individuals through higher prices in shops for good and services. If businesses are losing money to crime they pass this cost on to customers by increasing prices.