Property Crimes

Property crimes include many common crimes relating to theft or destruction of someone else’s property. They can range from lower level offenses such as shoplifting or vandalism to high level felonies including armed robbery and arson.

Some such crimes do not require the offender to make off with stolen goods or even to harm a victim – such as burglary, which only requires unlawful entry with the intent to commit a crime.

Others require the actual taking of money or property. Some, such as robbery, require a victim present at the time of the crime. Most property crimes include a spectrum of degrees depending on factors including the amount stolen and use of force or arms in theft related cases, and actual or potential bodily injury in property destruction crimes such as arson.

Below you’ll find more information on specific property crimes.

Learn About Property Crimes


Theft is the act of intentionally depriving someone of his or her property. Many states use the term to describe a wide number of property crimes, such as larceny and robbery.


One commits larceny by taking something of value without consent and with the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of the object. Most states use the term theft in place of larceny.


Burglary is the unlawful entry into a home or other closed structure, often by force or coercion, with the intent of stealing property from another or committing some other crime.


One commits robbery by using force or the threat of force to take money or property from another individual, such as pointing a gun at a bank teller and demanding cash.


Shoplifting is the theft or concealment of merchandise from a retail establishment without the intent to pay for it, such as placing items in one’s pocket and walking out of a store.


Arson is the intentional burning of almost any type of structure, building or forest land, with more severe degrees recognized if it causes bodily injury, or involves an inhabited building or intent to defraud insurers.


Vandalism occurs when an individual destroys, defaces or otherwise degrades someone else’s property without their permission; sometimes called criminal damage, malicious trespass, or malicious mischief.

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By Hassham

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