There are a number of tools which can be used for criminal justice policy analysis that rely on the availability of cost of crime estimates. This section lists these tools and also some others that are closely related.
The essence of an economic approach to criminal justice policy is to bring the costs of intervention into the picture as well as an analysis of the impact of intervention. When policy options are being discussed it is very useful for policy analysts to be able to present information about likely benefits and costs in a format that enables direct comparison of the two.
Applications for support of criminal justice projects requiring significant recurrent spending will normally require justification. This entails listing, and putting estimated values on, the expected costs and benefits from a project. Many such proposals will promise a reduction in crime. Cost of crime estimates provide a natural measure for measuring these benefits. The preparation of a 'business case' in support of an application will generally involve demonstrating that the value of the benefits can be expected to exceed the costs of the project.
Applications for public investment funding for criminal justice projects will in many countries require that a project appraisal be prepared. The principles of project appraisal rely on a similar approach, namely listing the expected and benefits. The main difference is that the timeframe of the project has to be thought through more carefully where significant investment funds would have to be committed in the early stages of a project.