What is a Property Crime?

Wisconsin Criminal Law Blog

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Defining Property Crime

Property crimes usually involve taking money or someone else’s belongings without force or the threat of force against the victim. (One exception is arson, in which victims might be subjected to force; it’s a property crime because it involves destruction of property.)

Arson as a Property Crime

Arson occurs when someone intentionally starts a fire to damage a building or property without its owner’s consent, or with the intent to defraud an insurer. The use of explosives to do the same also counts as arson.

Burglary as a Property Crime

Burglary involves someone intentionally entering a building without the owner’s consent while intending to steal something or commit a felony. The person entering the building must know that he or she doesn’t have the owner’s consent and must have had the intent to steal or commit a felony.

Larceny as a Property Crime

Larceny is taking someone’s property without the use of force. If property belongs to another person and someone takes it without the owner’s consent (and unlawfully), larceny is a valid charge.

Shoplifting as a Property Crime

Shoplifting or retail theft occurs when someone takes something from a store without paying for it, or when someone changes the price on merchandise to buy it at a lower cost without the owner’s consent. Removing an anti-theft device can also result in a shoplifting charge.

Vandalism as a Property Crime

Vandalism occurs when someone destroys or defaces someone else’s property without permission. This can include breaking windows, painting graffiti or damaging vehicles. In some cases, vandalism even extends to the online world when it pertains to damage or destruction of someone’s website.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Property Crimes?

If you’ve been accused of a property crime, we may be able to help you.

Call us at 414-383-6700 (Milwaukee) or 262-650-6700 (Waukesha) for a free property crime case review. We’ll ask you about your charges and start developing a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome right away.

Carlos Gamino
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What is a Property Crime - Carlos Gamino
By Carlos Gamino

Property crime is a category of criminal offenses that includes:

  • Larceny
  • Vandalism

Other crimes qualify as property crimes, too, but these are some of the most common that go through the court system.

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