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What crime is the most common in Pennsylvania?

| Mar 22, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Thousands of crimes occur every year in Pennsylvania. Some of these offenses go unsolved without anyone held accountable, while others result in the prosecution of someone the police suspect of involvement.

Those accused of a crime have the option of defending themselves, a process that often involves a trial by jury. One of the most crucial elements of a jury trial is the neutrality of the jury members.

Individuals deciding whether or not an accused individual is guilty of a crime should not have preconceived notions about the specific criminal event, a personal history with anyone involved in the situation or a background that involves the same kind of crime. It can be harder to find impartial juries for certain offenses compared to others because of their prevalence. What crime is the most common defense according to Pennsylvania statistics?

One category of crime is responsible for almost a quarter of all offenses

State law enforcement officials and federal agencies track reported and prosecuted criminal offenses. According to data gathered between 2012 and 2016, the most common kind of crime in Pennsylvania is property crime.

Specifically, different kinds of theft offenses make up roughly 25% of all criminal activity. Many kinds of crime are technically theft crimes even though they may be distinct from each other.

Burglary usually involves someone illegally accessing the property to steal while owners or employees are away. Robbery often involves a face-to-face interaction that leaves the victim traumatized. Shoplifting or retail fraud involves people trying to take merchandise out of stores without paying for it. There are also multiple kinds of white-collar crime that involve theft, like wire fraud and embezzlement.

The prevalence of theft crimes means the courts take them seriously

Compared to a violent offense, shoplifting or embezzlement may not seem like a big deal. The victim of such a crime might be a company, not a person, which can make it seem less severe.

However, theft undermines the moral code that is crucial to modern society. The prevalence of theft and the way that it undermines capitalism can contribute to how severely a judge or jury decides to punish someone accused of a theft offense. Fighting theft charges requires a careful review of the evidence against you and even similar cases in the past.