The Sacramento Bee posted an article this week looking at the effect of crime on local religious institutions. While some state that they are victimized at the same rate as other businesses, others think they are targeted because of vulnerability and maybe a perceived passiveness.
Regardless of the motivations, churches in Sacramento County have seen 122 acts of vandalism over the past two years. They have seen 77 acts of burglary as well. From stealing landscaping to destroying statues, the article points out that these offenses have affected how the parishioners worship.
According to one church, they have employed “Parking Shepherds” to patrol the lots while church is in service. Security cameras and guards are also popping up as preventative measures. It seems that houses of worship have to use the same methods to protect themselves that many area businesses have used for years.
Vandalism is a pretty broad term and legally it applies to any damage, destruction, or defacement with graffiti. Therefore, knocking over religious statues, spray painting swastikas, and destroying landscaping in front of a cathedral can all be considered acts of vandalism.
If charged with this offense, the time you may face and the exact charge are all dependant on the value of the damage done. You could face felony charges if the value is more than $400 and the prosecution elects to do so.
Along with these acts, churches have seen thefts rise as well.
Whether you are stealing from the collection plate or the store on the corner, you will face theft charges if caught. Similar to vandalism charges, the exact criminal charge depends on the value of goods or services stolen.
A criminal conviction is a nasty thing to carry for the rest of your life. If you are accused of victimizing a church, the elderly, or a child, you can bet that you will face additional scrutiny.
When facing criminal charges like theft or vandalism, you want to be certain to have an aggressive defense attorney on your side. Contact me to discuss the details of your case. Together we can determine the best course of action considering the specifics of your situation.