Tallahassee Sees Increase in Property Crimes
The good news to come out of data jointly released the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) and the Leon County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) was that violent crime was for the first six months of 2016 was 13 percent lower than it was for the same time period in 2015.
The bad news was that the Tallahassee Democrat reported on August 21 that "an increase in robberies, burglaries, larceny, motor vehicle thefts and property crimes" had increased the overall crime rate by 14.2 percent. According to the Democrat, larceny and motor vehicle thefts are at an all-time high.
The total value of stolen property for the first six months of the year was $9.5 million. Law enforcement officials told the Democrat the increase in property crimes was because there had been a greater focus on reducing violent crimes. Additionally, the people who allegedly commit property crimes had developed more ways of targeting large areas to commit theft or burglary.
"The guys and gals out committing these burglaries have become more sophisticated," Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood told the Democrat. "In some instances its homeowners and people who own the cars and are not locking their doors. That's a huge contributor to the overall crime rate going up."
Property Crime Penalties in Florida
A property crime in Florida is generally defined as an alleged offender taking or damaging the property of another party without that party's consent. The value of the property involved in an alleged offense typically factors into the classification of the crime, and property crimes may be a misdemeanor or felony offenses. A few of the most common property crimes that people are charged with in Tallahassee include, but are not limited to:
- Grand Theft;
- Petit Theft;
- Retail Theft (Shoplifting);
- Dealing in Stolen Property;
- Criminal Mischief (Vandalism);
- Criminal Trespass; and
- Scheme to Defraud.
In general, theft crimes involving property valued at less than $300 are considered petit theft and result in misdemeanor charges. If the property involved is worth $300 or more, alleged offenders are usually charged with the felony offense of grand theft.
Convictions for property crimes not only carry potential terms of incarceration and heavy fines, but they can also have significant long-term consequences because of their effects on people's criminal records. If you are convicted of a property crime, you could experience substantial hardships in attempting to obtain employment, housing, or a professional license.
If you were arrested or believe that you might be under investigation in Leon County for any kind of alleged property crime, do not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Contact a Tallahassee criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to explore all of your legal options and get help achieving the most favorable possible outcome to your case.
Attorney Don Pumphrey Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney.