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Grand Theft Person (Definition, Crime Trends & Statistics in 2024)

Grand theft person, also known as robbery, is a serious criminal offense that involves taking someone else’s property from their person or immediate presence through the use of force, violence, or fear. Unlike other forms of theft, such as larceny, which typically involve taking property without direct confrontation, grand theft person involves a direct confrontation or threat of harm to the victim.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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What is the Crime of Grand Theft Person?

According to the SCLG, in California, grand theft person is a form of larceny, which is a type of theft crime [1]. This offense is specifically addressed in California Penal Code section 487(c) PC, which defines grand theft as the act of stealing property directly from another person.

Theft, in general, involves the unauthorized taking and movement of someone else’s property with the intent to permanently deprive them of it.

For an act of theft to be considered grand theft in California, the value of the stolen property typically needs to exceed $950. However, when the property is taken directly from the victim’s person, the value is not a determining factor.

It is up to the prosecutor to prove that the item was taken from the victim’s person. Law enforcement has to prove this element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt – SCLG stated.

Is Grand Theft a Felony in California?

As stated by John D. Rogers, in California, grand theft can be categorized as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances [2]. When a crime can be charged as either, it is known as a “wobbler.” The decision to charge a defendant with a felony or misdemeanor is influenced by factors such as the facts of the case, the defendant’s prior criminal record, and the prosecutor’s discretion.

Several factors determine whether grand theft is classified as a felony or misdemeanor. One key factor is the value of the stolen property. If the value exceeds $950, the crime is typically charged as a felony. However, if the value is less than $950, it is usually considered a misdemeanor petty theft.

The type of property stolen is also important. Certain items, like firearms or vehicles, are considered “aggravated” grand thefts and are always charged as felonies. Furthermore, if the theft occurred during another crime, such as burglary or robbery, it may also be classified as a felony.

A defendant’s criminal history is another factor. Prior convictions for grand theft or other theft-related offenses may lead to a felony charge. Additionally, a history of violent or dangerous crimes could increase the likelihood of a felony charge.

Ultimately, the prosecutor’s discretion plays a significant role. They may choose to charge a defendant with a felony or misdemeanor based on the specifics of the case and their judgment.

  • In 2022, aggravated assaults accounted for 67% of reported violent crimes, while robberies made up 25%, rapes 7%, and homicides 1%.
  • Violent crime in California has been on the rise in recent years, mirroring a national trend that has seen increases since the onset of the pandemic. Compared to the pre-COVID rate in 2019 of 436 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, California’s current violent crime rate is up by 13.5%.
  • The state’s violent crime rate has fluctuated over the decades. Between 1960 and 1980, rates spiked from 236 to 888 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, followed by a decline in the early 1980s, only to rise again into the early 1990s. After peaking at 1,115 per 100,000 residents in 1992, California’s violent crime rate steadily decreased, reaching a 50-year low of 391 in 2014. However, since 2014, the violent crime rate has been trending upward, increasing in six out of the past eight years and now sitting at a level 26.4% higher than in 2014.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) 2022 research, California’s violent crime rate increased by 5.7%, from 468 crimes per 100,000 residents in 2021 to 495 in 2022. While the rates for robbery (theft with force) and aggravated assault increased by 9.9% and 5.2%, respectively, homicides reversed a two-year upward trend, dropping by 6.1%, and rapes remained essentially the same (0.1% decrease) [3].

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