Shoplifting, Thefts Rise as States Go Soft on Crime

The ongoing spike in murders and thefts across the nation has some questioning whether the U.S. has gone soft on crime.

We've seen the recent viral videos of shoplifters in San Francisco taking advantage of a state law that downgraded thefts up to $950 from a felony to a misdemeanor. However, that's still tougher than the law on the books here in Texas.

“As long as they don't steal under $2,500 worth of merchandise than it's not considered a felony. It's only a Class C misdemeanor. So we even have a higher threshold than California,” says Kimberly Dodson, criminology program director at University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Dodson says it's a major reason we see so many smash-and-grabs and other burglaries in the Houston area.

“There have been some crime stats that have been reported that theft is up across the state of Texas, particularly shoplifting,” she says.

“The legislature really should consider having more information before they blindly pass a law and don't fully consider how that's going to impact the community.”

By comparison, Dodson says the difference between a felony and misdemeanor theft in Tennessee is just $500.

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