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Economic cost of crime in SA impacts on the poor: Analyst

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An analyst says the World Bank’s revelation that crime costs South Africa’s economy up to R 700 Billion per year has put the spotlight on the effect this has on the poor and vulnerable.

The bank made the assessment in its recent report on the impact crime has on the economy.

The study unpacks the economic cost of crime using business and household surveys to quantify it.

Crime and policing specialist, Dr. Guy Lamb says crime costs the country 10% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Lamb says, “About close to 10% of GDP is lost based on the information, due to crime. It’s also important to note that it’s quite a narrow definition of economic loss. We’ve used an example of an iceberg, where what the report refers to the bit of iceberg that’s above the water, and then there’s all these other dimensions to crime and it’s linked to the economy, that’s below the water, which is much bigger.”

“So, what we do know from the violent crimes  – part of the literature and research that we’ve done is the context of poverty and inequality don’t necessarily cause the crime, but create a series of interconnected risk factor that results in it. Particularly a problem for younger, more marginalised men who struggle to find jobs.”

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