Financial damages caused by criminal acts in Israel carried a price tag of NIS 12.9 billion in 2007, a newly released report by the Ministry of Public Security said Wednesday. Despite the high-sounding figure, a noticeable downward trend in crime-based costs has been identified over the past few years, with 2007 forming the lowest crime cost level since records began in 2001. The year 2006 saw over NIS 14 billion in crime costs. Between 2001 and 2007, Israel suffered 101.5 billion in overall financial damages from crime. "The bottom line is that this [the level for 2007] is positive," said Danny Karivaa, Director of the ministry's Department of Planning, Budgeting, and Monitoring. "From 2004 onwards, we have seen a downward trend. The drop in 2007 is significant. In order to continue this, more crime-fighting steps are needed," he added. Karivaa stressed that Israel's crime cost stats were similar to those of other Western states such as the US, Britain, and Australia. Property-related offenses and fraud were identified as crimes that caused the most financial damage, Karivaa said. "Violent crime and drug offenses come next. Murder, despite the terrible human cost, causes relatively little financial damage." Two main components were factored into the evaluation process used to work out the annual costs: Expenditures on crime-prevention (which includes decisions taken by individuals designed to avert crime), and the direct financial consequences of criminal acts. "If you're concerned that someone might break into your house and steal your TV, you install bars on your windows and an alarm. Those are costs directly caused by the threat of crime, even though no offense took place," Karivaa explained. "You could have used the money for other things if you had less of a fear of crime. This is defensive behavior," he added. According to the report, a sense of personal insecurity led to NIS 5.6b. in damages between 2003 and 2005. In 2006, the level peaked to its highest point since 2001, and only in 2007 did the cost-level decrease. "Once an offense has taken place, medical and psychological costs could ensue from a violent crime, as well as lost work days. That is consequential damage," Karivaa said. Costs incurred by law enforcement, courts, and punishments also contribute to the overall figures featured in the report.