their lifestyles; this may involve moving to a 'better' neighborhood, buying expensive security systems, or avoiding work situations which they suddenly perceive as dangerous." It is also possible that nominal dollar losses, such as cash stolen or the value of lost workdays, underestimate the true monetary impact of victimization. For example, a crime victim might be forced into defaulting on a mortgage or lose a job due to lost workdays. An elderly victim on a fixed income might have to temporarily forgo food or heat, leading to detrimental health consequences. However, we are unaware of any studies that attempt to quantify either the incidence of these losses or their monetary value. Future studies of these indirect losses would be of interest.


This section describes the costs that public agencies incur in responding to victimization and dealing with its immediate consequences. The costs of investigation aimed at capturing and convicting the offender are not included here, because they are primarily costs of preventing future victimizations, as discussed in the next section.

Victim Services

Victim service organizations provide many services to victims of crime, including counseling, temporary shelter, and financial assistance. Although one might argue these costs should be classified with society's response to victimization, we have included them here because they are designed to assist the victim directly. Of course, they may also help prevent future victimization, as in the case of centers for battered women. Since victims are likely to suffer more severe consequences and higher costs in the absence of these services, we include costs of victim services in this section.

According to the Office for Victims of Crime (1988), there are more than 2,000 victim service programs around the country. This may be an underestimate of the actual number of programs: Smith and Freinkel (1988:156) found more than 900 programs for battered women alone in 1986.

Although we do not know how much is spent for victim services by state or local governments or private organizations, there are several ways of arriving at "ballpark" estimates of expenditures. The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) requires at least a 25

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