According to the Ministry of Public Security’s 2011 summary, crime has cost the state an astronomic sum of 14.4 Billion NIS. Compared to 2010, this is a decrease of 5.3%. However, the financial damage caused by crime is still estimated at 1.7% of the gross domestic product.
“Crime Tax” – This term is used to define the financial damage of crime, per person. It was estimated in 2011 at 1,842 NIS – the lowest level recorded since the Ministry began estimating the financial damage caused by crime.
Fraud and property offenses were the major causes for financial damage in 2011, with the two types of offenses constituting 50% of the overall financial damage caused by crime in 2011. The average financial damage of a property offense is estimated at 9,800 NIS, and the average financial damage of an incident of fraud offenses is 6,700 NIS.
In addition to the 5.3% drop in the overall financial damage caused by crime in 2011, personal security offenses – offenses comprised of crimes which affect the public’s sense of personal security – showed a decrease of 4% compared to 2010.
One of the major factors in the decrease of the financial damage caused by crime is the significantly lower rate of violent crimes. The financial damage caused by violent crimes in 2011 decreased for the first time since 2008. It dropped 7.4% compared to 2010, when it was estimated at 2.8 Billion NIS. Despite this, the Ministry's report also indicates that as opposed to other types of crimes, the financial damage caused by violent crimes in 2011 exceeded the perennial average of 2001-2010.
The accumulative financial damage caused by crime between 2001 and 2011, according to the estimate of the Ministry of Public Security, is around 177 Billion NIS. The Ministry of Public Security, like its parallel ministries around the world, considers the financial cost of crime a central planning tool for determining the allocation of Israel's limited public resources in an efficient way on both the national as well as ministerial levels.
In addition, the financial cost of crime also has great socio-economic significance. Much like the "risk premium" for terror risks, the fight against crime and the reduction of the financial damage caused by it must also be assigned an economic value. By increasing the fight against crime and consequentially diminishing the financial damage it causes, it is possible to improve other areas of the Israeli economy as well, and help create much needed infrastructure for the growth of the economy.
In light of these findings, national planning in general, and public security planning specifically, should be based on:
- National preference to the field of public security
- The continued enhancement of preventative and law enforcement activities in the traditional areas of crime, with particular emphasis on personal security offenses
- An analysis of the criminal phenomena and the types of offenses that cause significant financial damage, such as fraud; as well as a plan of action and a focused effort to end such phenomena