Over three million serious criminal offences were recorded by the police in the United Kingdom in 1980. Of these, about 95 per cent involved fraud, theft or damage to property, and only about five per cent violence or sexual offences; violent offences however, have doubled in the last ten years. Crime control takes up considerable public resources; in 1980–1, for example, public expenditure on law and order in Great Britain cost over £3000 million — and press and politicians vie with each other to demand more. Yet until recently there was little analysis of the effectiveness of such expenditure or even of its aims, a gap that some economists and statisticians are now trying partly to fill.
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