Willingness-To-Pay For Crime Control Programs

This paper reports on a new approach to valuing crime based on the “willingness-to-pay” (WTP) concept, using the “contingent valuation” (CV) methodology developed in the environmental economics literature. The study found that the typical household would be willing to pay between $100 and $150 per year for crime prevention programs that reduced specific crimes by 10 percent in their communities, with the amount increasing with crime seriousness. In the aggregate, these amounts imply a marginal WTP to prevent crime of about $25,000 per burglary, $70,000 per serious assault, $232,000 per armed robbery, $237,000 per rape and sexual assault, and $9.7 million per murder.

Publication Date

February 2004

Publication Name


Violence type

Mark A. Cohen, Roland T. Rust, Sara Steen, and Simon T. Tidd