Does crime pay?
The offense is defined as “an infringement of a rule or law by which, ultimately, some authority or governing force may prescribe a punishment” (crime). What if crime did not exist? Who would finance the public works? How many professions would there not be? Would the county require more federal and state grant funds? Among other things, is it not true that the derivative of the crime is financial punishment? Is crime economically harmful or beneficial to society? In this case study, the authors will attempt to answer these questions. Using a sample, the authors will prove that the funds derived from the crime offset the cost of the crime. In addition, this report will provide the results of a detailed cost-benefit analysis, including the financial impact and benefit that crime imposes on society. This report will determine that crime acts as an economic stimulus. Rather than focus on the morality of the crime, the perpetrators will focus on the financial and economic impact of criminal activity.
The first step in the process was to select a sample to analyze. Sample size became important because it needed to be an accurate representation of the population. The authors chose Chester County, Pennsylvania, because of its relevance to the University of West Chester. The authors then compiled and compiled various financial statements. These included the disbursement statements and receipts from each district court along with the Chester County budget. In order to find income and costs related directly or indirectly to the crime, the data was extracted from these documents (see Annex 1).
The “statement of results” of the crime, prepared by the authors, showed that their financial assumptions were true and accurate. The finalized “income statement” indicated that revenues and costs were about the same. Therefore, the cost of crime directly outweighs the proceeds of crime. Additionally, Chester County found a profit of approximately $ 2 million. Based on this analysis, it is fair to say that the crime is slightly financially beneficial to Chester County. This idea concludes that no additional state or government funding would be necessary if crime did not exist. It should be noted that during the analytical process the authors were forced to make reasonable and fair estimates due to the lack of specific information and resources. To be as precise as possible, the authors separated the costs into their respective categories based on the civil and criminal cases reported by the courts of first instance. (See Annex 1, * 1). The overall health and well-being of a community is important to all Chester County residents. A stable economy is essential for positive relationships between residents and the county. Crime stimulates the local economy in many ways. The economic benefits directly and indirectly related to crime are innumerable. The authors decided to cite some of these benefits.
First, to determine the effect that crime has on public works, two aspects must be considered. One is that public works are funded by state and federal grants and not by income received from criminals. Therefore, one would think that crime has no effect on public works. Or does it? Community service is another form of punishment that often parallels financial reprimands. In fact, non-violent offenders contribute their work to the economy and other public betterment projects. This “free labor” ensures the completion of public works and the general welfare of the community. If a monetary amount can be allocated to community service, then the cost of public work in excess of the community service income can only be funded by the state. Second, there are many jobs that are directly related to the existence of crime. These professions most commonly range from attorneys, judges, and law enforcement / probation / probation officers, to prison and correctional security officers. Most of these jobs in local municipalities provide decent wages and lifetime benefits to their respective employees. Average salaries for uniformed police officers range from $ 40,000 to $ 60,000 per year, not including bonuses or overtime (Police Patrol). Lawyers who practice law for more than four years earn an average of $ 90,000, forcing them to move up the tax bracket (Salary Survey). Without crime, high-paying jobs would move toward extinction. Therefore, the county would receive fewer tax payments. Most lawyers do not collect salaries from the local government, but they earn a decent living. Without further crime, there may still be lawyers, judges, and law enforcement officers for civil matters, but not in their current capacity.
Other important professions that would be affected by the elimination of crime are the United States Armed Forces. Many Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy personnel reside in Chester County, including one of the authors, Marine Corporal Cianci. In fact, there is an Army National Guard base located in downtown West Chester, Pennsylvania. Without crime, there would be a decrease in the capacity of the armed forces. Losing or diminishing these crime-dependent jobs would hurt the local economy. The education system is another entity that is affected by crime. Chester County Universities, such as West Chester University, Penn State Great Valley, and Immaculata University, are well known for their criminal justice programs. Without crime, classrooms would be empty and teachers would be unemployed. Universities would be forced to downsize. The criminal justice curriculum would stop generating income. Universities that base their curriculum strictly on the law would be disseminated. Finally, the reader must consider how manufacturing plants affect the local economy. Law enforcement officers drive purpose-built vehicles that help them fight crime and even make it possible. These vehicles are equipped with custom made lights, sirens and seats. Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler are the top three US automakers responsible for the assembly of police vehicles (police cars). If crime were eliminated, the manufacturing segment of the economy would be clouded. The decrease in manufacturing would lead to a decrease in the Gross Domestic Product. The principles of economics determine that manufacturing facilities housed in the United States provide a greater economic benefit than imported vehicles.
The authors’ examinations determined beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime influences the economic infrastructure. Without crime, an intricate slice of the economic pie would be missing. The most important form of influence results from the cash flow generated by the crime. The revenue earned by the district courts, which is disbursed to the state and redistributed, benefits individual communities and the county as a whole. It is essential to reiterate the jobs and opportunities that come from crime.
Now, consider the previously established definition of crime. This definition is an essential element in determining the “other” financial and economic benefits that the crime provides. At this point, one may be thinking, “where is this going?”
Until now, the perpetrators have focused on the action of the crime and the reaction of the “law”. The “law” includes all legal and judicial persons that associate around the legality of crime. What about crimes that are financially punishable by private institutions? These privately owned institutions include universities, banks, apartment complexes, residential communities, libraries, movie / game rental franchises, medical / dental establishments, and garbage / recycling entities. Privately owned establishments are the ruling force. Therefore, crimes, not punishable by the court of law, are infractions of the rules that give rise to fines and fees. These penalties and fees are charged for cancellation fees, late returns, late payments, “no shows” and bank overdrafts. In addition, this income is free. They could be characterized as pure profit without expenses. In some cases, they even reduce costs.
In the case of late payments, the governing force is the university. Yes, the college is state funded, but late payment of tuition benefits the school. Doesn’t all this feed the economy? Finally, the authors will examine the privately owned drug and alcohol clinics and classes one must take to avoid conviction and escape sentence. These facilities, including COAD (Chester County Council on Addictive Diseases), located in Exton, Pa, are individual entities, separate from the state, and do not include their income in Chester County budgets. For example, COAD charges an individual arrested for driving under the influence approximately $ 300 for enrolling in required local government classes. Collecting this money stimulates the local economy and further improves Chester County’s relationship with the community.
In conclusion, it would be vindictive to assume that the crime is strictly detrimental to the financial stability and economic infrastructure of Chester County. To put it all together one must imagine the big picture. The cash flow cycle responsible for crime has a profound impact on the local economy. Does crime pay? Yes, the crime pays for itself and also provides an economic benefit to Chester County and its subsidiaries.
(Exhibit 1) Chester County, Pennsylvania, 2006 – Crime income received by law enforcement and judicial authorities $ 51,026,376. Cost that would be eliminated without crime $ 56,328,802. Gross income equals $ 2,309,780.
Data was obtained from the 2006 Chester County budget. Cost ratio was determined based on Chester County’s reported civil / criminal ratio which equaled: 12% civil and 88% criminal. There was not enough information or resources to separate fixed and variable costs into their respective components.