Wealthy neighborhoods of Southern California have been subjected to unusually high burglary rates since late last year, according to the Los Angeles Times. Though burglary remains a relatively rare offense, it is a serious one with lasting consequences for the victims and for the suspect if they are caught.
Since Jan. 1, 2012, there have been 100 reported burglaries in Los Angeles alone, but the crimes are obviously limited to areas where homes are likely to have the most valuables.
These burglaries are hitting communities including Brentwood, Playa Vista, Bel-Air, Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Pacific Palisades, and Encino. In a three day period before this LA Times blog post, authorities arrested 13 burglary suspects.
Many of the reported burglaries are being conducted by suspects who first knock to see if anyone is home. If no one answers, they then break in through the back door or a window and steal valuable that are easily carried out.
By doing this and only breaking into empty homes, the burglars may be able to avoid the most serious charge of 1st degree burglary, if caught. First degree burglary charges only apply in cases where you burglarize a home when it is occupied. If convicted, this charge carries up to 6 years in prison, whereas a 2nd degree burglary charge carries only one.
A new burglary task force is being formed in response to the rash, being made up of several local law enforcement agencies including the LA County Sheriff’s Department.
These burglars seem to be fast and efficient, as they aren’t stealing large valuables like televisions, but instead are focusing on smaller products like jewelry and small electronics. The move towards smaller computers, sound equipment, and smart gadgets has no doubt made theft crimes easier than the days were “big screens” were the most valuable things in the home.
If caught, burglars face tougher penalties than regular theft suspects. A burglary is considered a more serious offense, because you aren’t only stealing, but you are trespassing on property which you have no legal right to.
Gone are the days of unlocked doors. Breaking into homes now is harder than it’s ever been and this extra effort that must go into gaining access can be used as evidence towards proving your intent in a burglary case.
If you are charged with a burglary offense and need assistance, our attorneys may be able to help. Contact our offices today to discuss the facts of your case and what can be done.