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Crime: Victims of crime earn less in the long run

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Crime victims have lower long-term incomes, a new study shows. Those affected earn up to 12.9 percent less than before the crime in the long term.

Anna Bindler, economist at the ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy at the Universities of Cologne and Bonn, and Nadine Ketel from the Free University of Amsterdam, evaluated over 800,000 Dutch police files for the study. They used anonymized numbers and were able to see what happened in the working life of those affected after the crime.

There they also saw that women suffer more from the consequences of the crime than men. In their analysis, the researchers differentiated between violent crimes, for example sexual assault or threats, and property crimes, such as robbery or theft.

Women are more affected by financial consequences than men

For all areas studied, the long-term financial effects of the crime on women are more severe than on men. While men after violent crime earned up to 7.5 percent less than before a year after the crime, the figure is 10.4 percent for women. In property crimes, men earned up to 8.4 percent less and women up to 12.9 percent.

The financial consequences for the victims of domestic violence are particularly drastic: According to the study, they are more dependent on social benefits and earn up to 17.9 percent less than before the crimes.

Bindler and Kessel see the main reasons for the lower salary after a crime in job losses and job changes. For example, victims of crimes may no longer be able to practice their profession as they were able to before the crime due to psychological and physical consequences.

Taken together, crime victims lose 366 million euros for the first year after bodily harm alone, the economists calculated. “Our research helps us to better assess the social costs of crime,” says Anna Bindler.

“The results could provide food for thought for compensation payments or further help for crime victims, such as labor market programs,” said the economist.

According to the Federal Criminal Police Office, 181,054 violent crimes and 1,822,212 cases of theft crime were found in Germany in 2019.

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