In the paper, the researchers break down the carbon impacts by crime type. And they factor in the subsequent costs associated with criminal justice system services, including police investigations and the impacts of operating prisons and court buildings.
Among criminal offenses, burglary produced the largest proportion of the total footprint (about 30 percent), largely due to the emissions associated with replacing stolen or damaged goods.
Criminal justice services account for about 21 percent of the total footprint.
“The analysis illustrates the complex ways that institutions in society and the associated economic activity shape the impact we have on our climate,” said Helen Skudder, a research engineer at the University of Surrey and lead author of the paper. “We have shown that is possible to take into account the environmental implications of crime alongside the social and economic costs, as part of crime prevention policy appraisals.”
The paper, “Addressing the Carbon-Crime Blind Spot: A Carbon Footprint Approach,” is downloadable at bit.ly/JIEcrimecarbon
For their analysis they utilized an “environmentally extended input-output” model, a top-down methodology that uses economy-wide modeling to estimate supply chain emissions.