Legal Dictionary

property crime

Definition of property crime

Further reading

Property crime is a category of crime that includes, among other crimes, burglary, larceny, theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, shoplifting, and vandalism. Property crime only involves the taking of money or property, and does not involve force or threat of force against a victim. Although robbery involves taking property, it is classified as a violent crime, as force or threat of force on an individual that is present is involved in contrast to burglary which is typically of an unoccupied dwelling or other unoccupied building.

Property crimes are high-volume crimes, with cash, electronics (e.g. televisions), power tools, cameras, and jewellery often targeted.[1] "Hot products" tend to be items that are concealable, removable, available, valuable, and enjoyable, with an ease of "disposal" being the most important characteristic.[2]

Crime control

Property crime control strategies in most English-speaking democracies take a Bentham approach, with focus on punishment and deterrence.[3] Imprisonment punishment also serves to incapacitate offenders for some period of time from re-offending.


  1. Freiberg, Arie (December 1996). "The Property Crime Market: A Regulatory Approach". Burglary and Car Theft: Is Your Property Safe?, Melbourne, Australia.
  2. Clarke, Ronald V. (1999). "Hot Products: understanding, anticipating and reducing demand for stolen goods". Police Research Series, Paper 112. Home Office, Policing and Reducing Crime Unit.
  3. Weatherburn, Don, Peter Grabosky (March 1997). "Strategic Approaches to Property Crime Control". Second National Outlook Symposium: Violent Crime, Property Crime and Public Policy, Canberra, Australia.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     lex causae
2.     lex situs
3.     lex loci celebrationis
4.     lex patriae
5.     Clayton's Case
6.     lex domicilii
7.     AORO
8.     lex loci delicti commissi
9.     defence of property
10.     Miranda warning