Property Crime: Definition, Types & Statistics

Property Crime: Definition, Types & Statistics
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  • 0:03 What Is Property Crime?
  • 0:40 Burglary, Theft, & Larceny
  • 1:10 Trespass, Vandalism, & Arson
  • 1:42 Statistics
  • 2:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Schubert

Jessica is a practicing attorney and has taught law and has a J.D. and LL.M.

In this lesson, learn what constitutes property crime. You'll come to understand the definition, examine the types of property crime, and review some property crime statistics.

What Is Property Crime?

Property crime includes crimes that are not directed specifically at individual people. Rather, these crimes are aimed at property. With property crime, property may be destroyed or defaced in some way. Usually people aren't injured since the intent is typically focused on obtaining or defacing the property in question, but it's possible that individuals may be harmed, as in the case of arson.

There are numerous types of property crime, including:

  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Shoplifting
  • Larceny
  • Trespass
  • Vandalism
  • Arson

Let's look at each of these in a bit more detail.

Burglary, Theft, & Larceny

There are different types of burglary, but in general, burglary is the unlawful breaking and entering of someone's property, such as their home. However, burglary can also occur when one illegally trespasses on private property. Theft is the unlawful taking of another individual's personal property. Personal property can include items from someone's home or wallet or the theft of one's motor vehicle. Larceny is the unlawful taking of property from another person to use the property for personal use.

Trespass, Vandalism, & Arson

Trespass is the unlawful entry into another individual's property. Trespass can also include building a fence on the property line of another person's property. Vandalism is the willful destruction of property without permission of the property owner. This can include breaking of windows, graffiti, or destruction of the foundation of the property. Arson is the malicious, intentional burning of a building or other structure. Sometimes, arson results in the death of individuals inside the building, which makes it a very serious form of property crime.


Now, let's look at some statistics related to property crime.

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