The Most Common Criminal Law Charges and How To Avoid Them

According to the latest statistics made available by the FBI, across the U.S., a property crime is committed every 4.1 seconds and a violent crime every 24.6 seconds.

These are shocking statistics. Although, there are a number of things you can do to minimize your own risk of becoming a victim of crime.

Here are the top five most common criminal law charges in the U.S. and tips on how to avoid them:

1. Larceny/Theft

According to CriminalJusticeDegreeHub, by far the most common crime across the U.S. is larceny-theft. There are more than 7 million incidents of larceny reported each year, and this crime makes up around 60% of all reported crimes.

Larceny is theft, although the word “theft” is used for broader crimes. Depending on which state you live in, the word larceny might apply to different types of theft.

To commit an act of larceny, someone has to take property that doesn’t belong to them without the owner’s consent. If you’ve ever had some personal belongings stolen, you were likely a victim of larceny.

It’s important to note that a crime of larceny is different from robbery and burglary. These crimes are also covered separately on this list along with explanations.

How To Protect Yourself Against Larceny list the following points to help protect yourself against larceny:

  • Keep your possessions close to you when you’re out and never leave bags and other belongings unattended
  • Do not place your cell phone, car keys, and other valuables on tables when dining out
  • Keep your personal belongings in a secure drawer while at work
  • When shopping, keep your wallet, purse, etc secured on your body until you are paying for your goods
  • Do not keep your Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) in your wallet or purse
  • Make a list of all your credit card numbers, ID cards, etc along with customer service phone numbers in case you need to cancel your cards if they’re stolen

2. Burglary

The second most common criminal law charge in the U.S. is burglary. Although burglary often involves the theft of items, it’s a crime that can be committed without stealing anything.

To commit a burglary, someone has to enter a dwelling or structure with the intent to commit a crime. It’s possible for that person to be convicted of burglary, even without committing a crime inside the building.

If a person does commit theft while in the building, they can face multiple criminal charges.

How To Protect Yourself Against Burglary

Safewise lists the following as ways to prevent your home/business from being burglarized:

  • Install security systems and cameras
  • Improve the locks on the doors that give access to your building
  • Make your property looked lived in when you’re not there
  • Use motion-activated security lights
  • Always lock windows overnight
  • Join neighborhood watch groups

3. Motor Vehicle Theft

According to Wikipedia, in 2017 there were 237 motor vehicle thefts reported per 100,000 people across the U.S.

Motor vehicle theft also called car theft and grand theft auto is the criminal act of stealing or attempting to steal a motor vehicle.

Around 800,000 people are victims of motor vehicle theft each year, and this makes this type of crime the third most common.

How To Protect Yourself Against Motor Vehicle Theft

GEICO outlines the following as the best ways to reduce the risk of being a victim of motor vehicle theft:

  • Always keep your vehicle locked, even while driving
  • Never leave your car unattended and running, even if you’re popping out for just a couple of minutes
  • Install an anti-theft immobilizer and/or a tracking device
  • Never leave valuables inside your car where they can be seen
  • Try and park your car somewhere lit or with good visibility overnight if not in a garage

4. Aggravated Assault

The fourth most common criminal law charge is aggravated assault. The FBI defines aggravated assault as “an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.”

This is a very different type of crime from the top three on the list. Being a victim of an assault often has a much more damaging impact on victims over theft and burglary.

Weapons are commonly used, and victims are subjected to bodily harm. There is a physical, mental, and psychological impact involved when being a victim of an aggravated assault.

How To Protect Yourself Against Aggravated Assault

It’s often difficult to predict when you’re at an increased risk of an aggravated assault. Some tips to help protect yourself include:

  • Don’t go out late at night alone
  • Know your surroundings well, be cautious when exploring new areas
  • Listen to your instincts, if you feel uncomfortable or if you’re in danger leave the area
  • Be observant of your surroundings and keep an eye out for risks
  • Don’t be confrontational with people

5. Robbery

Robbery is the fifth most common type of crime. Not to be confused with larceny or theft, robbery is defined by the FBI as “taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.”

It’s estimated there are around 300,000 robberies reported in the U.S. every year. This covers everything from “strong-arm” robberies involving dangerous weapons to more “minor” incidents such as attempted purse snatching.

How To Protect Yourself Against Robbery

To protect yourself from being a victim of robbery recommends the following tips:

  • Be observant of your surrounds and remain alert at all times
  • Don’t make valuables visible if you can help it when out in public
  • Stick to well-lit areas late at night
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash on you
  • Display confident body language
  • Trust your instincts, if you feel like you’re at risk do something to remove yourself from the situation

Have You Been the Victim of a Crime?

If you’ve been a victim of a crime it’s important you are aware of your rights. You may be eligible for compensation or restitution, or you may feel like your case is not being handled correctly.

Criminal defense attorney Warren Freeman has more than two decade’s of legal experience. He’s litigated some of the most challenging lawsuits across several counties in Alabama.

If you want to find out what your rights are and what the best outcome for your case is, call the office of Warren Freeman Attorney at Law today at (256) 253-3169.