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Date Created: 12/21/15
Crime rate in the United States The crime rate in the United States is the product of many different types of crimes categorized in two main categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Felonies are the more serious of the two due to the fact that they are considered to have a greater impact on public safety than misdemeanors and petty crimes. The Uniform Crime Report has identified the top ten common crimes is America today. Drug Abuse Violations Across the Nation Drug crimes are the most common offenses committed in the United States today. These drug crimes can be selling, manufacturing, possession, possession with intent to sell and driving under the influence. Over two million people are arrested annually for these types of charges, 82 percent of which are for possession. Since drug charges are deemed highly dangerous to the safety and welfare of the general public, the penalties can be quite harsh. Some consequences of being convicted of drug charges include fines that can run in the thousands and will usually land a jail sentence of at least a year. Depending on certain criteria like amount and location, a judge can impose 10 to 20 year jail sentences. These penalties will get stiffer for repeat offenders. Property Crimes in the US The term property crimes covers a wide range of offenses. It includes burglary; theft, arson and motor vehicle theft just to name a few. The penalties for property crimes can also be a broad range of penalties. Burglary in the intent to commit or act of committing a crime whether there is theft involved or not. Burglary includes breaking and entering or trespassing. Typically, a judge will hand down at least a year in a federal penitentiary, high fines, loss of civil privileges and can affect things like child custody for felony charges. Misdemeanor charges will get up to a year in jail and fines. Another crime included in the broad category of property crimes is theft. Theft involves stealing someone's personal property, sometimes through force. This includes money embezzlement, identity theft, obtaining merchandise under false pretense, shoplifting, petty theft, larceny, robbery and receipt of stolen goods just to name a few. Penalties for these crimes depend on the severity of the crime. Courts will consider the type and value of the property stolen, the defendant's criminal background and if violence, force or threats were involved when handing down a sentence. A judge can sentence jail time, fines or alternative consequences like revoking one's driver's license or taking away one's right to own a firearm. Motor vehicle theft can also be categorized here. The penalties for motor vehicle theft depend on the nature of the crime. These crimes are usually classified as a misdemeanor and will be penalized with fines and less than a year in jail. Arson also falls under property crimes. Arson is a fire started intentionally. There are several different penalties for this crime, all depending on the outcome. A judge will sentence someone convicted of arson to jail time, fines, mandatory counseling or mental health treatment. If someone died in the fire, the penalty can be life in prison or the death penalty. Some jurisdictions also take motive into account when passing down a sentence for arson. The Growing Problem of Drunk Driving The third most common crime in the United States is DUI or DWI. The United States pours excessive amount of law enforcement time and expense into the prevention and apprehension of people driving drunk. Penalties for this crime include jail, fines, driver's license revocation and the person's vehicle being impounded. The penalties get more severe with each offense. Larceny in the United States Larceny can be categorized under property crimes but it is so common in the United States, it is a category in itself. Larceny involves the unauthorized taking and removal of another person's property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner. It is a crime against the right of possession and is generally not violent. The punishment for larceny depends on several factors like any aggravating or mitigating circumstances. It also depends on the type of larceny. Grand larceny carries a much heavier penalty than petit larceny. These penalties can include jail, fines and sometimes restitution. The Violent Crime of Assault There are three elements that make up the crime of assault. There must be an intentional and unlawful threat by word or act to commit violence against another. There must also be an apparent ability to carry out the threat. Finally, the threat has to create genuine fear in the person that is threatened. This crime can get up to 60 days in jail, six months' probation and up to a $500 fine. When a weapon is involved, the crime is aggravated assault and has much stiffer penalties. There are well over a million assault charges a year. A Crime That Disturbs Society Disorderly conduct is another common crime committed in the United States. The behavior that warrants this charge covers is very broad and generally includes any crimes that pose a risk to society. Behavior that is likely to cause other people alarm, anger, annoyance, or increased likelihood to engage in unlawful acts is considered disorderly conduct. The penalties for this can include fines up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail. These penalties can be higher if violence is involved. Selling Alcohol to Minors There are many requirements in place to prevent alcohol getting into the hands of minors. When stores fail to follow these policies and laws, they can be fined and lose their liquor license. Often, the store owner or clerk selling to minors can be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail. Violence in America Violent crimes are a common crime committed in America today. Violent crimes include manslaughter, murder, robbery, assault and forcible rape. The penalties associated with these crimes depend on the extent of force or violence involved in the crime. These penalties include death, prison, fines, restitution and probation. With the broad range of crimes, these penalties can be more severe. Public Drunkenness: A Common US Problem Public drunkenness has several different names like public intoxication or drunk and disorderly. This charge is dependent on the behavior and demeanor of the individual. Most states require the person to be out of control in public. The sentence for this can be a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail. More Violence in America This common category involves several individual crimes for the violence category. Crimes included here are aggravated assault, burglary and vandalism and they land in the number 10 spot for common crimes in America. The penalties for these vary greatly and depend of the severity of the crime committed. Although the definitions and penalties can vary from state to state, they all have the same impact on society as a whole. Several prevention steps can be taken to ensure you don't become a victim to any of the top ten most common crimes in America.