Crime-Scene Cleanup Business Booms Despite Crime Decline

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Despite a drop in violent crime, the crime-scene cleanup industry has boomed, reports Profits for the nearly 600 firms in the business in the U.S. totaled more than $99 million in 2015, on revenues of $357.5 million, according to IBISWorld, a market research group. Those profits are sometimes reaped from those who can ill afford costs that may run into the tens of thousands of dollars when insurers do not pay.

In the Philadelphia area, there are a handful of locally owned franchises and cleanup crews. Those businesses compete against larger companies such as Aftermath Inc., which has locations across the U.S. and did more than 500 jobs in the Philadelphia area from January 2015 to June 2016, the company said. Some say the field was not so crowded six years ago, and owners credit the boom to its depiction in popular media, including the indie film Sunshine Cleaning. Some of the companies say weak or nonexistent government regulations on such issues as training and proper cleaning standards have allowed too many people to get into the business and are starting to drive down profits. In Pennsylvania, becoming a biohazard cleaning technician requires just two things: a $99 safety training course taught by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and a Hepatitis B vaccine.

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