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STREET LAW - Capital High School


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									UNIT 2: Criminal Law and Juvenile Justice
                              Chapter 10
                  Crimes Against Property
   The category of crimes against property
    includes two groups
     crimes in which property is destroyed (such as
      arson & vandalism) &
     crimes in which property is stolen or taken against
      the owner's will (such as robbery & embezzlement)
   During the late 1990s, there were fewer
    crimes against property, in part because
    Americans developed better ways to prevent
    these crimes
     These behaviors include
      ○ Security lighting
      ○ Home & car alarm systems
      ○ Steering wheel locks
      ○ Greater attention to locking doors & windows
      ○ A tendency to carry less cash due to the greater use
        of credit cards
   Arson and vandalism are examples of crimes
    involving the destruction of property
     Arson is the intentional & malicious burning of another
      person's property
      ○ In most states it is a crime to burn any building or structure,
        even if the person setting the fire is the owner
      ○ Burning property with the intent to defraud an insurance co. is
        a separate crime, regardless of the type of property burned or
        who owned the property
      ○ Arson has also been a form of racial violence
         To help federal prosecutors deal with a rash of racially motivated
          church arsons, Congress passed the Church Arson Prevention Act of
         This act help oversee the investigation & prosecution of arson at places
          of worship across the U.S.; it also seeks to increase the penalties for
          such crimes
   Vandalism is the willful destruction of or damage
    to another person's property
     Effects of vandalism include broken windows, graffiti,
      & damage to cars
     Costs include repair, cleanup, & replacement
     It can be a felony or a misdemeanor
   Juvenile statistics (doesn’t include # of incidents
    in which an arrest was never made)
     12% are female; 88% are male
     80% are white; 17% are African American; 1% are
      Native American; 1% are Asian
   “Broken Window” Theory
     If communities don’t react strongly to crimes like
      vandalism, panhandling, & prostitution, worse crime
      will follow
     Suggests that when 1 broken window isn’t fixed, other
      windows will be broken
      ○ When there is no response to “low-level crime” by law
        enforcers, criminals will assume that crime is tolerated in
        that community & crime will therefore escalate
      ○ This had led to “zero-tolerance” policies which punishes
        first time offenders swiftly & significantly
      ○ People believe that communities are cleaner, residents
        feel safer, & the general quality of life improves
   People who disagree with these types of policies
    believe that police & community leaders should
    focus their resources on more serious crimes
     Disproportionate effect on the poor because many
      instances of vandalism & crime take place in poverty-
      stricken areas
     These are people who are the least able to pay them
     In some communities, the relationships between
      residents & police are already strained & are made
      worse when people feel like they are harassed for
      minor offenses by police who are “just doing their jobs”
   There are many other categories of crimes
    that involve taking property against the will of
    the owner
     Larceny is the unlawful taking & carrying away of
     another person's property with the intent never to
     return it to the owner
      ○ Most states identify larceny as either grand or petty
         Grand larceny—which is a felony—occurs when anything
          above a certain value is stolen (usually $100)
         Petty larceny is a misdemeanor that involves the theft of
          anything of small value (usually < $100)
   Larceny also includes keeping lost property
    when a reasonable method exists for finding
    the owner
     Ex: finding a wallet that includes a driver’s license
   You may also be guilty of larceny if you keep
    property delivered to you by mistake
   Shoplifting is a form of larceny
     It is the crime of taking items from a store w/o
     paying for them or intending to pay for them
      ○ Some states have a separate crime called
        concealment (attempted shoplifting)
      ○ Shoplifting results in huge losses for businesses
         Costs are passed on to consumers in the form of higher
         Everyone pays for shoplifting
   Embezzlement is the unlawful taking of
    property by someone to whom it was
     Ex: bank tellers, stockbrokers
   Some states have merged the crimes of
    embezzlement, larceny & obtaining property
    by false pretenses (intentional misstatements
    of fact into the statutory crime of theft
   Robbery is the taking of property from a
    person's immediate possession by using
    force or threats
     Robbery involves 2 harms:
      ○ Theft of property, &
      ○ Actual or potential physical harm to the victim
   The difference between robbery & larceny is
    the use of force
     Ex: a pickpocket who takes your wallet unnoticed
      is guilty of the crime of larceny
     Ex: a mugger who knocks you down & takes your
      wallet by force is guilty of robbery
 Robbery is almost always a felony
 Stricter penalties for armed robberies—thefts
  committed with a gun or other weapon
   Extortion, also called blackmail, takes place
    when one person uses threats to obtain
    another person's property
     The threats may include harm to the victim's body,
      property, reputation, or loved ones
     Ex: a person who threatens to injure you or your
      property unless you give him your car is guilty of
   Burglary is the unlawful entry into any
    dwelling or structure with the intention to
    commit a crime (regardless of time of day)
     Originally defined as breaking & entering the
      dwelling of another person during the night
      w/intent to commit a felony
     Stiffer penalties for burglaries committed at night,
      of inhabited dwellings, or committed w/weapons
   Forgery is a crime in which a person falsely
    makes or alters a writing or document with
    intent to defraud
     Ex: signing the name of another person to a
      check or some other document w/o permission
     Ex: changing or erasing part of a previously
      signed document
   Uttering is offering to someone as genuine a
    document (such as a check) known to be a
   Identity Theft
     A serious criminal action that has the potential to
      affect anyone w/a Social Security #
     Children are ideal targets – can be used for years
      w/o detection
      ○ Generally identity theft is discovered when a person
        applies for a credit card, driver’s license, or gets a
        credit report
     For adults, $ & power often increase the likelihood
     of victimization because important information
     about celebrities is generally easier to access
   Receiving stolen property involves receiving
    or buying property that you know or have
    reason to believe is stolen
     Knowledge that the property is stolen may be
     implied by the circumstances
      ○ Ex: buying goods out of the trunk of a car or for a
       price that is unreasonably low
   It’s a felony if the value of the property
    received is > $100 & a misdemeanor if < $100
   Unauthorized use of a vehicle
     If the person only intends to take the vehicle temporarily
      ○ Includes joyriding
   If the intent is to take the vehicle permanently, then
    the crime may be larceny or auto theft (stiffer
   Carjacking occurs if a person uses force or
    intimidation to steal a car from a driver
     A federal crime & is punishable by a sentence of up to life in
     Anti Car Theft Act (1992)
      ○ Law covers the use of force or intimidation to steal a car from a
   The Internet has led to an increase in computer
     Any violation of criminal law that involves the use of
      computer technology to commit the prohibited act
      ○ Involves traditional crimes that now may be committed
        through the use of a computer
         Ex: the use of a computer to make fake identifications or making
          fraudulent credit card purchases w/someone else’s credit card #
          that has been intercepted over the Internet
      ○ It also involves crimes that are relatively new & specific to
         Ex: the intentional spreading of a computer virus or using
          programs to steal passwords
   Computer crime is committed for several
    different reasons
     Employees who are angry with their company
     Hackers who gain illegal entry to gov. or corporate
     computer systems
      ○ they are relatively harmless & tend to break into sites
       for fun, for a challenge, or to point out security flaws
     Crackers (criminal hackers) who seek to make $
     from breaking into computers
   Hackers tend to be middle- or upper-income
    males who begin their criminal activity in HS &
    usually stop after college
     Tend to think of themselves as an elite group of
        information seekers who are adept at exploring
        computer systems & networks
       Have the time & access to computers necessary
       Do not fear loss of jobs or personal wealth (factors that
        deter adults)
       An outlet for social anxiety – fills a social void
       Share a similar profile to the students responsible for
        violent school rampages, such as Columbine (1999)
   Breaking into a corporate or government
    system to which you don’t have access is a
    federal crime – regardless of motive (as long
    as there is a guilty state of mind of intending
    to break into the site)
   Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (1986)
     Provided the government with a specific law to
     prosecute hackers
   Electronic Communication & Privacy Act
     Offers protection to computer operators
     The federal gov. & law enforcement officials are
      required to obtain a search warrant before seizing
      or reading any electronic mail
     This doesn’t apply to private employers
   National Infrastructure Act (1996)
     Illegal to threaten to cause damage to a computer
      system unless the owner gives something of value
     Illegal to intentionally give or receive passwords that
      would permit unauthorized access to systems
   Children’s Internet Protection Act (2000)
     Limits access to obscene images, movies, & sound at
   USA Patriot Act (2001)
     Gives gov. & law enforcement officials broader powers
      to access a suspect’s Internet communications than
      has typically been permitted by the 4th Amendment
   Most computer crimes probably go
     Companies are reluctant to publicize their
      vulnerability to computer criminals or customers
     Many are discouraged by the time & resources
      needed to prosecute individuals
   Cyberstalking & Internet Pornography
     Young people are particularly vulnerable
     Challenge is to find ways to protect children from
     people who abuse the Internet w/o overly
     restricting access & discussion groups for the
     majority of adults who use the Internet for lawful,
     constitutionally protected uses
 Child pornography & minors’ access to adult
  pornography through use of the Internet are
  forms of computer crime
 Actions aimed at effectively curbing these
  illegal uses of computers often threaten to
  infringe upon important First Amendment
  rights concerning freedom of speech,
  expression, & association, as well as access
  to information
 Child pornography is always illegal in the US
 Use of the Internet to promote such images is
  also illegal
 The Internet is an international tool – access
  is available to child pornography that is shot
  in places where it is not illegal
     The US has no jurisdiction over such web sites
   The First Amendment doesn’t protect the right of any
    minor to access pornography
   Laws that prevent sales & rentals of such materials
    to minors have been upheld as constitutional
     Minors are generally not viewed as having the full range of
      rights as adults
     Infringements on constitutional rights are acceptable where
      there is an important gov. interest
      ○ The gov. has an interest in restricting minor’s access to
      ○ It is not difficult to pass & enforce laws that prevent businesses
        from selling porn to minors; it is more difficult to limit access to
        this information on the Internet
   The government also watches bulletin boards
     Exchange of computer files & messages
     Illegal download of software programs
   Illegally copying software
     Violates federal copyright laws
     Subject to a possible jail term & a fine of up to

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