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Joynewyeary

Classify Theft by Dollar Loss?

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Consider two cases of breaking and entering and theft where it is known that the situation involves actual theft rather than, for example, a false claim of theft as part of an insurance fraud scheme.

In one case, what are stolen are tools that someone uses for work. In the other case, what is stolen is personal jewelry. (The word "personal" is used to exclude, for example, situations where the jewelry is on display in a museum).

If the estimated dollar loss in the case of the jewelry is, for example, 1.5 times the estimated dollar loss in the case of the tools and if the severity of the crime of theft is categorized purely by the estimated dollar amount of loss, then it could easily be the case that the jewelry theft will be categorized as a more serious crime than the tools theft.

If productive activity deserves protection, then might it be reasonable to classify a theft of tools as just as severe a crime as the theft of jewelry even if the jewelry is somewhat more valuable than the tools?

Should classification of a crime's severity affect the amount of time and effort that police devote to trying to solve the crime?

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What standard would you suggest for judging a civil crimes severity? It seems to me that dollar amount is the best standard available. In the case of theft/breaking and entering the criminal ought to be punished criminally for breaking and entering, and in a civil manner by making him pay for what he ganked. As for the tools vs. jewelery; If there is a good way of determining how much productive work the victim lost by not having his tools available, then I see no problem in making the criminal pay extra in order to cover that.

"Should classification of a crime's severity affect the amount of time and effort that police devote to trying to solve the crime?"

Good question.. Not entirely sure how to answer it. So I will give it a try :) Since the police department has limited resources, it would make more sense to put more effort towards the more severe crimes. Both the theft of a TV and murder are morally wrong, yet one is more dangerous than the other. Both crimes involve the violation of ones rights, but the latter crime of murder is a much worse violation. Since the police is there to protect our rights from violation, they ought to devote more time to finding the murderer. When it comes to matters of similar degree (IE: a $15,000 Toyota GTA vs. $50,000 BMW GTA) a first come first serve basis seems to be just.

Marcus Lange

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