According to one recent report, property crimes, which include burglary, larceny, and auto theft, are on the rise across the Bay Area. forced entry.jpg
According to data collected for the years of 2011 and 2013, property crimes are on the rise in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Alameda and San Francisco counties. The combined average increase is 17.5 percent, accounting for a total of 261,207 incidents over the past two years. Put another way, in 2012, when broken down against time, there was one property crime committed every four minutes within that five county area.
While the exact cause for the increase remains unknown, law enforcement and criminal justice experts postulate it may have something to do with budget cuts within police departments, and state-wide efforts to reduce prison overcrowding, which includes sending convicted felons to serve shorter sentences within local jails, therefore putting them back onto the streets faster. However, there is no comprehensive data available to support either of these theories.
Of all of these types of crimes, vehicle thefts had the largest spike, at an approximately 35% change from 2011 to 2012.
For example, some of the numbers included:
Alameda County had a 36% increase in auto theft
Cupertino had an almost 212% increase in auto theft
Pleasanton had a 41% increase
Car theft is a charge that can be treated differently depending upon which penal code section charges are brought under, and also according to whether it is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony offense.
Auto theft, when charged as the unlawful taking of a vehicle, carries a potential prison sentence of up to one year in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
However, when charged as grand theft auto, it can be treated as a felony, which carries a maximum punishment of three years in state prison.
The manner in which the crime is charged can depend largely upon the experience and ability of your defense attorney. Thus, you’ll want to make sure that you hire an attorney who is experienced in defending against auto theft charges, in order to ensure your best chances at having charges reduced or dismissed altogether. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that if charged as a felony, vehicle theft could count as a strike.
If you or a loved one has been accused of burglary, larceny, auto theft or any other property or other crime within Santa Clara or San Mateo County, call the experienced Bay Area criminal defense attorneys at Dudek & Cintean, LLP today. Do not speak with a detective, investigator or police officer before talking to one of our experienced attorneys. Call us today at (415) 946-4020 in order to schedule your free initial consultation. You can also contact us through our website.