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Property Crimes

One of the most difficult kinds of crimes for any state to deal with are property crimes. The reason is that property crimes can tend to keep new population away while convincing the existing population that it may be time to live somewhere else. The state of Delaware has a population of approximately 907,000 people and it would like to see growth in that population to help expand the tax base. That is why the state has been working hard to reduce property crimes and make the state more attractive to outside investors and potential residents.

Property crimes in Delaware include activities such as:

To get an understanding of the magnitude of property crimes in Delaware, let’s take a look at some numbers and see how those numbers compare to the national average. When examining property crime numbers in Delaware, it is important to remember that it is a small state that borders a large metropolitan area. The city of Philadelphia sits just across the river from Wilmington, Delaware and that does have some effect on the crime numbers that we see. But it is impossible to separate the crimes committed by people out of state with the crimes committed by residents of Delaware. This could be artificially inflating the crime numbers for the little state of Delaware.

In 2011, the state of Delaware experienced 30,939 property crimes along with 5,075 violent crimes. That breaks down to 34.11 property crimes per every 1,000 residents. The national average for property crimes per 1,000 residents is 29.1. As you can see, the close proximity to a large metropolitan area has caused a spike in property crimes for Delaware that may otherwise not exist. Once again, it is speculation to say that property crimes would be lower in Delaware if it were not for being located to close to Philadelphia, but the crime rate in Philadelphia is 580, which is 200 points above the national average.

A further look at the property crime rates in Delaware shows that in 2011 there were:

  • 7,531 burglaries
  • 21,878 thefts
  • 1,530 motor vehicle thefts

What is the difference between a burglary and a theft? A burglary is usually committed when someone breaks into a property and commits a robbery. Most burglaries are done to homes, inside vehicles and in businesses. Thefts are acts such as pickpocketing, purse snatching or something where property was taken from someone forcibly. The state of Delaware tries to keep these stats separate because they are important to real estate investors as well as crime experts. The less burglaries there are in a state, the more influence the state can have over convincing real estate investors to put money into state properties.

Shoplifting Charges

Within thefts are crimes such as shoplifting and possession of shoplifters tools. In the state of Delaware, it is illegal to possess a collection of tools that are normally used in the act of shoplifting. These tools can include, but are not limited to, gloves, bags and tools to pick locks. It is a preventative law that tries to stop shoplifters before they can strike. Once again, the financial stability of the state depends on being able to convince businesses that loss prevention will not be a problem if they do business in Delaware. Cracking down on shoplifting is just one way that the law works with the other parts of Delaware government to improve investment in the state.

Property Crimes and Population

An examination of the largest city in Delaware can give us a better idea as to what kind of property crime issue exists in the state. Brandywine is a city of approximately 111,000 people and is much further away from Philadelphia than Wilmington. But that does not seem to have helped the crime rate in Brandywine. The vehicle theft rate in Brandywine is 75 percent higher than the rest of the country, while the risk of robbery in Brandywine is two and a half times higher than the rest of the United States.

The population of Delaware fluctuates up and down from year to year. Brandywine has grown from a city of 87,000 people in 2000 to a city of 111,000 people today. The people who live in Brandywine are trying to escape the crime that is taking place in Wilmington. The state of Delaware has decided to put a stop to the escalating crime rate throughout the state and the efforts have started with the youth. A program of rehabilitation, instead of simple incarceration, seems to have significantly dropped the instances of property crimes among juveniles in Delaware. Those numbers are translating to lower overall property crime numbers throughout the entire state.

Crime and the State of Delaware

Delaware is one of the smallest states in the country, but it is battling one of the largest crime problems. Some of the crime influence comes from Philadelphia, while some crime is being committed regularly by Delaware residents. By focusing on helping juveniles to avoid repeat offenses, the state has been able to significantly reduce its property crime numbers. Now the state is focusing on trying to get the adults to follow suit as well, by introducing rehabilitation programs for adult repeat offenders.

As Delaware continues to fight its property crime problems, it seems that the state is learning from past challenges. Repeat offenders cause a large portion of the property crimes in Delaware. By working to reduce the number of repeat offenders, the state is hoping that it can clean up its streets and clean up its public image as well.

Contact a Property Crime Defense Attorney

Please do not hesitate to call Property Crime Defense Attorney Brian J. Chapman if you’ve been accused of theft, vandalism or some other crime. His Delaware law office can be reach by phone at 302-656-2528 or you can also email his legal team to schedule your first appointment.