In B.C., the costs of crime associated with poverty are $745 million. This includes direct costs, such as policing and the criminal justice system, as well as intangible costs, such as pain and suffering and loss of life.

People living in poverty are vastly over-represented in Canada’s prison population, and they are also more likely to be victims of crime. Extremely low welfare rates lead people to make difficult “choices,” such as staying with abusive partners, resorting to survival sex (trading sex for shelter, for example), panhandling, and stealing.  Our system criminalizes people for making impossible choices, while people living in poor neighbourhoods in our province face disproportionate surveillance.

Let’s get to the heart of the problem and reduce poverty in order to decrease crime associated with poverty and desperation.


  1. The Cost of Poverty in BC (CCPA, July 2011)
  2. Kids ‘N Crime: Economic Aspects of the Development and Prevention of Criminality among Children and Youth (The Vancouver Board of Trade and the Justice Institute of BC, September 2010)