Over 7 million property offenses were reported in America in 2016. The trend is showing a dip in cases, but in North Carolina, you have a one in 39 chance of falling victim to this crime. Such an offense leaves an even more substantial impact when an intruder has taken something valuable from your commercial establishment, disrupting your business.
Property crimes cover a wide range of offenses, from a simple vandalism charge to severe arson; these are generally bailable offenses. So the offender on either charge can call a bondsman to get bail in North Carolina. The accused may be limited, depending on what the court decrees, in his or her movement after getting out of jail. But this could still leave your business vulnerable to malicious intent.
What are the four possible crimes that could affect your business?
This type of property crime is the forceful entering of a building to intentionally commit theft. In contrast to robbery (e.g., mugging), burglary doesn’t require the element of person-to-person interaction. North Carolina law breaks up burglary into two degrees: first degree if the building is occupied, and second degree if the building is unoccupied.
North Carolina deems theft as larceny, which is when someone takes another person’s property with the intent to deprive the owner of its use. This type of property crime falls into three classifications under the state’s laws:
- Class 3 and 2 Misdemeanor Larceny – this includes shoplifting
- Class 1 Misdemeanor Larceny – this covers property or services worth $1,000 or less
- Class H Felony Larceny – this covers property or services valued more than $1,000; the courts, however, can deem a crime under this classification, regardless of the value, if the property was taken from another person; if the act was committed through breaking and entering, and if the item is an explosive device, firearm, record or paper in the custody of the North Carolina archives.
Possibly one of the more dangerous property crimes, arson can not only destroy structures but also take lives. As such, the law considers this a felony and attaches severe penalties for it.
Arson falls under two classifications in North Carolina:
- First degree – the intent to burn a building, mobile home, trailer, or any dwelling with someone in it.
- Second degree – a less serious offense in which the building burned has no occupants.
If the arson results in the death of an individual, the prosecution could bring first degree murder charges. The state follows the felony murder rule.
Property crimes have an impact that can go beyond the financial loss. At the least, a burglary or larceny can delay operations as your business cooperates with the police’s investigation. At the most, it can scare your customers into coming back to your establishment, thinking the crime might happen again. If this kind of perception about your business persists, you may start to see sales decline.
In knowing the nuances of each property crime, you can fight harder when the cops catch the perpetrator. And you can work with your lawyer to get severe penalties if necessary.