Property Crimes

The second class of crimes used by the FBI in computing its annual crime index are the property crimes of burglary, larceny—theft, motor-vehicle theft, and arson. Compared with a rate of 684.6 for violent crime, the rate of property crime in the United States in 1995 was 4,593 per 100,000 inhabitants. Of the four offenses in the latter category, the rate was highest for larceny-theft—"the unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another" (U.S. Department of Justice, 1996, p. 43). Larceny-theft includes shoplifting, pick-pocketing, purse snatching, thefts from motor vehicles, thefts of motor-vehicle parts and accessories, and bicycle thefts in which force, violence, or fraud is not involved. In contrast, burglary, the next most common category of property crime, is "the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft" (U.S. Department of Justice, 1996, p. 38). Both burglary and larceny-

theft occur more frequently in July and August. Motor-vehicle theft —the stealing of automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, motorscooters, snowmobiles, and so on, has a lower rate than larceny-theft or burglary but represents more than half the value of all property that is stolen. The lowest rate among the four crimes in the property category is for arson—"any willful or malicious burning or attempt to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle, or aircraft, personal property of another, etc." (U.S. Department of Justice, 1996, p. 53).

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