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Community Safety and Economic Crime

NCJ Number
Criminology & Criminal Justice Volume: 9 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2009 Pages: 165-185
Hazel Croall
Date Published
May 2009
21 pages
Based on the findings of research on the adverse impacts of economic crime, this article identifies and analyzes the economic and physical harms associated with a selected range of economic and business offenses in Great Britain.
The article first focuses on economic crime that adversely impacts people in their homes. This includes the home as the site for fraudulent sales practices at the door, through the mail, over the phone, and through television and the Internet, as well as physical hazards that may be posed by utility services. The article then analyses the impact of economic crime in local neighborhoods, which encompass the diffuse effects of major financial frauds, public corruption or tax evasion, and environmental crimes that pose health hazards and affect the quality of life in neighborhoods. A third site of economic crime addressed is in the market place, which broadly includes open-air markets, retailing, and "virtual" markets in cyberspace, where various products, including food, are sold that may contain hidden dangers and health threats. Few victim surveys include the aforementioned forms of crime. Local enforcement agencies rarely view these economic crimes as either "crime" or as their responsibility. Some forms of economic crime could be made more visible by including them in victimizations recorded in national and local victim surveys. Another strategy would be for local enforcement agencies to solicit information from local organizations and citizens regarding various economic harms they have experienced from scams and other forms of economic fraud. The disastrous economic harms at the local level that have been caused by recent actions by financial institutions may set the stage for the public to demand expanded definitions of economic crime and tighter regulations against reckless and fraudulent actions that harm a wide range of local communities. 85 references