Economics of Crime and Prevention

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Economics of Crime and Prevention

Ja-mel Q. Whitaker
ECO 499 Senior Seminar in Economics and Finance
Professor Juliet Elu
September 4, 2011

I. What is a Crime? Criminal activities produce several social issues in the United States. Criminal activities affect our “general well-being by threatening loss of property and by generating concern for our physical safety” (Grimes, Register, & Sharp, 2010). A large portion of “national output is devoted to crime prevention activities.” Unfortunately, this diversion of outputs leads to the used resources being “unavailable for other, [perhaps more pressing,] production processes,” such as education. This is not to say crime prevention is not important at all. In fact it is a serious pressing issue that needs serious attention, but could be avoided if people do not participate in criminal behavior.
According to dictionary.com (2011), crime is “an action or an instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited.” Criminal acts are any actions that “society (or one of its subdivisions) has decided it is better off without, which it has therefore made illegal through laws, ordinances, and the like” (Grimes, Register, & Sharp, 2010). Not all criminal acts are immoral, which is the issue with the first definition and most definitions of crime for that matter. Speeding is not necessarily immoral, but it is a crime. Cheating on a spouse is considered immoral, but is not crime. Prostitution is immoral, and “there are many places where [it is] legal and [is] therefore not criminal. There are various classifications of criminal acts. These classifications include violent crimes (crimes against other people, i.e.: rape, murder, etc.), property crimes (fraud, theft, forgery, vandalism), illegal goods and services…...

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