Reducing Crime and Domestic Abuse with Cash-Transfers

Reducing Crime and Domestic Abuse with Cash-Transfers

  • mdo  Admin
  •   Articles
  •   August 1, 2021

New research found that "more than 120 million crimes were committed in the U.S. in 2017 (including 24 million violent crimes), amounting to a financial impact of $2.6 trillion." The new research hopes to clarify ideas on crime prevention policies, early youth interventions and allow policy makers to encourage programs that will have an impact on crime and its costs.

One such impactful policy that could reduce the costs of crime (and crime itself) is the implementation of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) and Digital Economic Inclusion, each would reduce crime and domestic abuse as well as reduce poverty. While crime and crime reduction methods are nuanced and complicated topics that require in-depth research, UBI advocates within the context of reducing wealth inequalities and reducing poverty, just like DIGICEN, consider the idea of reducing the exorbitant costs of U.S. domestic abuse cases to be a crucial step. According to a Centers for Financial Security study, “financial abuse occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases” meaning it has the potential to impact nearly every domestic violence case.

One of the most impactful ways a Basic Income would make a difference is through empowering those who are victims of domestic violence and financial abuse with the ability to leave their abusive situations such as an abusive spouse or abusive workplace. Providing income security to those in abusive situations allows for the freedom to escape from such abuse and provides the choice for a new course in life.

Besides having a potential direct impact on reducing domestic violence and reducing the costs of associated crimes, there have been cash-transfer studies in the U.S. that show a significant increase in other quality-of-life benefits such as improved education outcomes and parenting. Paying for child care time equates to better parenting and is economic empowerment. The extra time spent with children sets a good example for them and could be considered an early youth intervention. This means better physical and mental health for children, better schooling, and more chance of keeping children out of trouble—all with long-term benefits for both the parents and their children.

In a Basic Income study done in Namibia, results have shown a significant 40% drop in crime. In a Canadian Basic Income pilot, a reduction of crime by 15% "in the saturation site of Dauphin" was seen, also resulting in improvements in mental health and a reduction in domestic violence. Within the U.S., a cash-transfer study done among Native American children saw a reduction in minor crimes, and a 22% reduction for 16 and 17 year olds. "The casino payments also caused a reduction in drug-dealing activities among youths"

Basic Income and Crime Reduction

There have also been findings with regards to public assistance in the form of food stamps. Here it was found that children in families with access to food stamps were much less likely to commit a crime through the age of 24, and the benefits of the program outweighed the program costs.

Will larger Basic Income policy changes outweigh the costs nationwide or throughout entire countries? It seems highly likely. By combining the Child Tax Credit, or a variation of it, with Universal Basic Income in the U.S. these policies have the potential to significantly reduce crime, would free people to escape abusive situations, and prepare healthier children to be ready to take on a very challenging future full of more positive outcomes for all.

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