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Crime Analysis Center
2406 E.
Skipping Rock Way
Oro Valley, Arizona 85737
Phone: (520) 219 8144
Fax: (520) 219 8144
E-mail:
cmakres@netzero.net

Index Crime Definitions (Cont’d.)

Arson - is any willful or malicious burning or attempt to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling, house, public building, motor vehicle, aircraft, or personal property of another. Fires of suspicious or unknown origins are excluded.

Violent Crime - is composed of the four Index crimes of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assaults. All violent crime involves force or threat of force.

Property Crime - is composed of the four Index crimes of burglary, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Theft-type crimes involve the taking or attempted taking of money or property. Force or threat of force against the victim is not involved.

Misconceptions - in classifying crimes, the biggest confusion to most people is the distinction between robbery, burglary and larceny/theft. Usually, whenever someone’s house, car, or business is broken into, they tell the police that they have been robbed. This is reinforced in most television programs when the same situation occurs. However, based upon the Index crime definitions presented, above, robberies only occur whenever person-to-person confrontations are involved and the victim is forced to surrender property. If a house or business is broken into (I.e., unlawful entry is gained through force), a burglary is involved. If unlawful entry is gained without the use of force (e.g., through an unlocked door or window), a burglary is still involved. Even if someone is in the house or business (and the business is closed to customers) and is not confronted by the suspect or confronts the suspect and the suspect runs off, a burglary is involved.

If a car or other motorized vehicle is broken into with the intent to steal something from the vehicle, a larceny/theft has occurred. This situation is sometimes called a “burglary of a motor vehicle’‘ in some jurisdictions. However, in UCR reporting, it is still classified as a larceny/theft.

Part II Crime - other crimes such as fraud, forgery, worthless checks, vandalism, simple assault, etc., are classified as Part II or non-Index crimes. Even such serious offenses as kidnapping, various types of sexual assault and carrying prohibited weapons are classified as Part II crimes. Many Part II crimes occur only when an arrest is made such as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (i.e., they are recorded only when a police officer observes the incident).

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