, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 441-458,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 24 Feb 2011

The economics of pre-crime interventions


Several observers suggest that we may have undergone a shift from a post-crime to a pre-crime society in which the principal focus has become the pursuit of security by anticipating and forestalling future harms, rather than responding retrospectively to harms that have actually happened. This paper is about the economics of pre-crime interventions. It investigates the welfare consequences of risk assessment and early interventions to prevent individuals from engaging in criminal activities. Furthermore, it deals with the question of what constitutes an optimal application of risk assessment and early intervention. Finally, it presents three rules of thumb to identify conditions where pre-crime intervention may be welfare enhancing.