There are a wide array of felony crimes committed in the United States. Some of the most common crimes are those that relate to property.
A property crime is any crime that relates to something that a person owns. Common property crimes include the following. The numbers in parenthesis are the approximate number of such crimes committed in the United States each year, as tracked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in their Uniform Crime Report for the most recent year available):
Burglary (700 crimes per 100,000 people). Burglary is the illegal entry into a building, whether it is a residence, automobile, or commercial property, usually for the purpose of stealing property (but it can be related to the commitment of other crimes). However, burglary has technically been committed as soon as you enter a property illegally, even if you do not have the opportunity to steal anything or commit an additional crime.
Burglary may also be called breaking and entering.
Theft (2,000 crimes per 100,000 people). Theft is simply the taking of someone else’s property without that person’s consent. Theft can include anything of value that, through the act of theft, you deprive another person of having or enjoying.
Motor vehicle theft (250 crimes per 100,000 people). Motor vehicle theft is technically a subset of the crime of theft as a whole, but it is so common that it is deserving of separate mention. Motor vehicle theft is the taking of someone else’s motorized vehicle. Motorized vehicles can include but may not be limited to cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, and trailers.
Arson (21 crimes per 100,000 people). Arson is the intentional setting of a fire in an attempt to destroy property. Arson is commonly associated with the burning of a building for the purpose of concealing another crime or committing insurance fraud, where with the destruction of the property the holder of the insurance policy would then be able to case in that policy for the insured amount.
As you can see from the statistics included above, theft is the most common property crime with arson being rather rare in terms of commitment rate as compared to other property crime. This disparity in rates is largely due to opportunity, as it is simply easier for someone to commit theft on the spur of the moment when an opportunity presents itself rather than having to pre-meditate the act.
Property crimes are generally considered to be felonies, which means they are punishable by more than one year in prison. However, this can vary somewhat from state to state depending on the exact circumstances of the crime. The deterrent against property crime is enforcement of punishment by the jurisdiction where the crime is committed and the owner of the property simply taking measures to make the property a less desirable target. Deterrents against property crime can vary depending on the type of property but may include alarms in the case of homes or automobiles to make it more obvious if a burglary or motor vehicle theft may be occurring or simply carrying your wallet in your front rather than back pocket where it is easier to steal.
If you are accused of having committed a property crime or believe you have been the victim of a property crime, you should contact a criminal defense attorney. Regardless of which side of the crime you are on, a criminal defense attorney can help you know your rights and be sure you receive the best service possible within the law.
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