What Crimes Are Most Likely to Happen During Summer?


Certain Crime Rates Are Higher in the Summer

Police departments in Texas are seeing a rise in “summer crimes,” which mainly include property damage and car burglaries. The warmer weather tends to encourage people to stay out later at night, especially young people who are on summer break. Not to mention, travel rates have skyrocketed due to the decrease in COVID-19 case rates throughout the country. It doesn’t help that countless individuals and families are struggling to financially “bounce back” from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. At one point, the US unemployment rate reached a record high, totaling 14.8% in April 2020.

For these reasons and more, summertime crimes such as theft and property crimes are on the rise.

The combination of fewer people being home and more people staying out as well as a recovering economy creates widespread opportunities for the commission of crimes such as robbery, burglary, and vandalism. However, if you are accused of these offenses, you’re looking at serious criminal penalties.

Texas Robbery Laws

Robbery occurs when a person commits theft and intentionally or recklessly injures another person or intentionally or recklessly puts another person in fear of imminent bodily injury or death. A second-degree felony, robbery is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Examples of robbery include:

  • Yanking a purse from someone’s hand
  • Assaulting a person to steal their money
  • Pressing an object against a person’s back to make them think it’s a gun in order to steal money from their pockets
  • Threatening to kill someone if they don’t hand over their jewelry

However, a robbery charge can become an aggravated robbery charge if a defendant commits robbery and causes serious bodily injury to another person, uses or displays a deadly weapon, or hurts, threatens, or places an elderly person in fear of imminent bodily injury or death. Accordingly, aggravated robbery is a first-degree felony punishable by 5 to 99 years or life in prison and/or $10,000 fines. With this in mind, aggravated robbery can be committed by:

  • Holding a knife to a 65-year-old person’s neck while demanding their money
  • Pointing a gun at someone until they hand over their cellphone
  • Breaking someone’s neck before snatching their diamond necklace from them
  • Putting someone in a chokehold until they hand over their wallet

How Is Burglary Committed?

Unlike robbery, burglary does not always involve physical force or violence or the threat of physical force or violence. However, burglary is categorized as a theft offense because it is committed when a person:

  • Enters a habitation, or a building (or any portion of a building) not then open to the public, with intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault
  • Remains concealed, with intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault, in a building or habitation
  • Enters a building or habitation and commits or attempts to commit a felony, theft, or an assault

That being said, burglary is a first-degree felony if the suspect entered a habitation with the intent to commit a felony other than felony theft or committed or attempted to commit a felony other than theft. Burglary is a second-degree felony when it’s committed in a habitation such as a home, and a third-degree felony when the premises are a commercial building where a controlled substance is generally stored (i.e., pharmacy, hospital, or nursing facility) and the person intended to steal a controlled substance. Burglary is a state jail felony when committed in a building other than a habitation.

Car burglaries and carjackings tend to be extremely common during the summertime, as people leave their car doors unlocked more often and/or remain away from their vehicles for long periods of time. As a result, people can steal cars or items within such vehicles, giving rise to felony charges. Carjacking is a type of robbery due to its forceful and potentially violent nature, while car burglary is burglary committed on a vehicle.

Texas Property Damage Law

Criminal mischief in Texas is considered a misdemeanor or felony depending on the property losses. A person commits criminal mischief if they intentionally or knowingly do the following:

  • Damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner
  • Tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person
  • Intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner

Remember when we mentioned that vandalism is a common summer crime? Well, young people are usually held responsible for these crimes, as they often commit acts such as toilet papering (“TPing”), egging, graffitiing, and throwing rocks when they get bored. Summer break calls for boredom, and thus, opportunistic crimes. Although these activities seem harmless at first, the reality is that they are crimes punishable as such:

  • Class C misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine if the victim’s loss totals less than $100 or the act causes substantial inconvenience to others
  • Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a $2,000 fine if the victim’s loss totals more than $100 but less than $750
  • Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a $4,000 fine if the loss totals more than $750 but less than $2,500 or the defendant causes the impairment or interruption of any public water supply, or causes the diversion of any public water supply
  • State jail felony punishable by 180 days to 2 years in jail and/or $10,000 fines if:
    • The loss totals more than $2,500 but less than $30,000
    • The loss is less than $2,500 if the property damaged or destroyed is a habitation and the damage or destruction is caused by a firearm or explosive weapon
    • The loss totals less than $2,500 if the property was a fence used for the production or containment of cattle, bison, horses, sheep, swine, goats, exotic livestock, exotic poultry, or game animals
    • The victim’s loss totals less than $30,000 and the defendant causes the impairment, diversion, or interruption of property used for flood control purposes or of public communications, public transportation, public gas or power supply, or other public services
  • Third-degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine if the losses total $30,000 or more but less than $150,000, or the defendant kills a head of cattle or bison or one or more horses by discharging a firearm or another weapon
  • Second-degree felony if the losses total $150,000 or more but less than $300,000.
  • First-degree felony if the losses total $300,000 or more.

As you can see, the state of Texas values property and will punish anyone who interferes with or attempts to interfere with another person’s property. Whether you’re charged for stealing someone’s computer from their car, hurting someone in attempts to steal their wallet, or you are wrongfully accused of vandalizing your neighbor’s front yard, our attorney can fight for your rights and defend your freedom every step of the way. Since 1978, attorney Roland Jeter has helped good people overcome tough situations, and you could be next.

To schedule a consultation, get in touch with the firm online or at (972) 330-4050!

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