Crimes against property are not as obvious as they sound. Although they deal with damage or theft of physical property, sometimes they also involve harm or threat to individuals. When people are involved, the penalties for crimes against property can increase a great deal.
Arson Destroys Property
Arson is a crime against property. The seriousness of penalties often depends on whether anyone was inside the property at the time it was set on fire. When an owner sets fire to his own property to make an insurance claim, this is usually a felony.
Vandalism and Defacement
Even if property is not totally destroyed, damaging it is still a crime. Spray-painting someone's automobile, digging up a public garden, or throwing a rock to break someone's window are all examples of vandalism or defacement. These are crimes against property.
Theft Is a Property Crime
Stealing is a complicated property crime because it falls into so many different categories. Theft is the most minor charge. Theft involves taking something that doesn't belong to you. You might see a laptop sitting untended on a park bench, pick it up, and carry it off. The value of what you take usually determines the penalty. If you shoplift a tube of lipstick, it would be a misdemeanor.
Burglary Is More Serious Than Theft
Burglary involves entering a building to take something, and it can be a felony if was another person is inside the building when you enter. Burglary also includes entering any other type of property, such as someone's automobile or a storage facility.
Some Property Crimes Are Less Obvious
Some property crimes may seem so minor, you're not even aware you're breaking the law. For example, it's illegal to hook into your neighbor's television cable hookup. Technically, you're stealing something that your neighbor has paid for - the signal from the cable provider.
Automobiles Are Property
Automobile crimes include auto theft and carjacking. Auto theft involves stealing a parked vehicle. Carjacking is more serious, because the owner is driving the vehicle at the time you take it.
A Criminal Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding property crimes is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a criminal lawyer.