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Criminal enterprises: lucrative for some, very expensive for all the rest of us

Serious and organised crime costs the Australian economy $36 billion per year, according to a new analysis undertaken by the Australian Crime Commission.

The detailed cost analysis, which includes a cost breakdown of different organised crime types for 2013–14, is the first of its kind to be undertaken by the Australian Crime Commission. The high level findings were released to help raise the community’s awareness of the impact and extent of serious and organised crime, according to a commission press release. Co-author of the report is Queanbeyan economist and criminologist John Walker.

Australian Crime Commission CEO, Mr Chris Dawson said the costs of serious and organised crime equate to “$36 billion—or $1561 for every man, woman and child in Australia”.

While immeasurable impacts like families and communities destroyed by hard drugs are merely noted, other impacts that come with a dollar tag, like burglary, fraud, money laundering or medical costs of drugs and violence and insurance claims could be measured. So can the cost of prevention and response. That analysis fell to Walker and a team from Australian Institute of Criminology.

They drew on a range of information and data that reflected the costs of serious and organised criminal activity ($21 billion) and the cost of prevention and response initiatives ($16 billion).

For those who want to delve deeper, a public summary is available at the Crime Commission website

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