The realm of law surrounding property crimes is extensive and encompasses multiple subcategories, including theft and arson. Some of the crimes can be charged even if the suspect did not obtain stolen goods or physically harm another person, while some crimes require the act of taking possession of property or money. One report by the FBI estimated that over 9 million property crimes are committed each year.
While some charges may incur a misdemeanor, others can result in felony charges, fines, and potentially even a prison sentence. Here, criminal defense attorney Rahul Balaram explains a handful of the most common types of property crimes committed in the United States.
Shoplifting is a crime in which a person steals items from a store. Usually, shoplifters conceal merchandise on their body, place it in a bag, pockets, or walk out without paying for the merchandise in question. Shoplifting can occur at any retail establishment where goods are sold, such as a grocery store, clothing store, or convenience store.
Theft Property Crimes
The act of theft can be defined as intentionally stripping someone of their property or possessions. It can often be broken down further into different subcategories, including larceny or robbery, depending on the state the crime takes place in.
An act of larceny takes place when someone steals or takes an item of value from an owner without permission or consent with the intent to permanently deprive that owner of the item at stake. Some states may use the term larceny interchangeably with theft.
A robbery occurs when individuals or groups of individuals either threaten with violence or use force to take possession of property or money from someone else. Often, robberies occur when a person points a gun or weapon at someone and demands them to give them money. The most common places for a robbery to take place are banks and convenience stores.
Burglary Property Crimes
A burglary takes place when a person enters a home or property without permission using force or coercion. The act of burglary includes the intent to steal property or to commit a crime while on the premises; however, no physical belongings have to be removed to be charged.
Another common property crime is the act of vandalism. Vandalism takes place when an individual damages the property of another without express consent. Vandalism is often seen through graffiti, breaking of windows, throwing eggs at a house or car, or slashing a vehicle’s tires. It can also be referred to in other terms, depending on the location of the crime. Other titles for vandalism include malicious trespassing, malicious mischief, or criminal damage.
On the more serious scale of property crimes is the crime of arson. Arson occurs when an individual or group burns property, including land, structures, or buildings. Forest fires started by individuals typically will fall into this category. If there was intent to physically injure someone in the act or defraud investors of the property, the charges could be even more severe.
About Rahul Balaram
After passing the bar exam in 2015, Rahul Balaram became a strong and competent Public Defender for Solano County. He worked on the misdemeanor conflict panel in Sonoma County representing indigent clients who could not afford legal counsel. Rahul graduated cum laude from the University of San Francisco Law School and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego; he is also a member of the McAuliffe Honor Society.