Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cost Of Crime

No longer just East of Aldgate*

BOM has blogged the cost of crime many times (eg see here), but we've never delved beneath the national headline figures. The TaxPayers' Alliance has now done just that, at least for the Metropolitan Police area.

They've taken the costs of individual crimes as calculated by the Home Office and applied them to the Met's crime stats broken down by London borough. Overall they find the cost of crime in London in 2006-07 was a chunky £3 billion, equivalent to £400 for every person in the city.

Westminster has the worst problem, with a per capita cost of £620. But much of that probably relates to crimes carried out against its many visitors. In terms of crime inflicted principally on residents, it's Islington that comes out worst, at £590 per capita, closely followed by Tower Hamlets (although I'm guessing not the bit where Tyler Jnr lives). Camden, home to private security Primrose Hill, comes in at £500.

And the safest places to live? Richmond, Harrow, and Sutton, leafy suburbs all.

What this work confirms is that it's the poorest areas that suffer most from crime. And while Ken and the Met make much of falling crime rates in London, an annual crime cost of £500- £600 per head is scandalous (especially when you remember the TPA figures relate only to crime reported to the police, rather than total crime, and exclude fraud, which the HO estimates is responsible for about one-quarter of the total cost of crime).

We're dying to know how these per capita costs have changed since the big police spending splurge began in 2000 (see this blog). We suspect they've increased, reflecting a change in the mix of crime towards more expensive items like violence. But the TPA has not yet crunched the numbers. Crack on guys.

* That famous advice from Holmes to Watson that he should never travel East of Aldgate without a revolver, turns out to have been made up for the Granada TV series. How very disappointing.

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