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Classify Theft By Dollar Loss?

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Consider two cases of breaking and entering and theft where it is known that the situation involves actual theft rather than, for example, a false claim of theft as part of an insurance fraud scheme.

In one case, what are stolen are tools that someone uses for work. In the other case, what is stolen is personal jewellry. (The word "personal" is used to exclude, for example, situations where the jewellry is on display in a museum).

If the estimated dollar loss in the case of the jewellry is, for example, 1.5 times the estimated dollar loss in the case of the tools and if the severity of the crime of theft is categorized purely by the estimated dollar amount of loss, then it could easily be the case that the jewellry theft will be categorized as a more serious crime than the tools theft.

Should classification of a crime's severity affect the amount of time and effort that police devote to trying to solve the crime?

If productive activity is worthy of protection, then might it be reasonable to classify a theft of tools as just as severe a crime as the theft of jewellry even if the jewellry is somewhat more valuable than the tools?

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Imagine I am the owner of both the tools and the jewelery. If the jewelery is more expensive, then I'd be harmed more if the jewelery was stolen. If the tools are stolen, I could sell the jewelery, replace the tools and still have something left. Indeed, the jewelery is likely to have value to me that it would not to someone else: e.g. it was a gift from someone dear.

The example is more plausible if one considers the jewelery and tools to belong to different people; i.e., if one framed it thus: should stealing all his fortune from a poor man, be regarded as severe a crime as stealing the same amount from an extremely rich man?

The law has to be objective. In the case of most possessions, monetary value is fairly objective. The law also takes into account other objective factors (usually by splitting a single act into multiple possible crimes). For instance, breaking and entering or using a weapon could add to the severity of the stealing.

As long as the law recognizes degrees of severity and uses objective measures by which to determine that severity, it is on the right path.

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If the man loses any time working (ie he cannot report in to work or has to rent tools from somewhere to go to work the next morning,) then that should be taken into account of any reckoning.

For example, if he loses $150 in wages while the tools are gone, the theif not only has to give back / pay for new tools, but also pay for the lost wages.

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Should classification of a crime's severity affect the amount of time and effort that police devote to trying to solve the crime?
No. There is no point in micromanaging penalties beyond the ridiculous levels they already reach. In Ohio, thefts fall into 1 misdemeanor and 5 felony classes, plus unclassified gas drive-off theft. There is the special crime "theft of anhydrous ammonia", the various auto theft categories, a complex system for shifting crime levels if you steal from old people, blah blah blah. Theft is theft, for the love of mike. The real issue should be, why don't laws rigorously mandate restitution to the victim? You can get restitution, but only through separate civil procedure which means you can't beat restitution out of the criminal.

On top of that, the idea that petty theft is undeserving of police protection is just wrong from every perspective that I can imagine.

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