Pew Report: raising felony theft threshold has no impact on crime rates | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Pew Report: raising felony theft threshold has no impact on crime rates

Posted By on Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 5:24 PM

click to enlarge pspp_statetheft_map1_990.png

A new study from Pew Charitable Trusts looks at states that have raised their felony theft thresholds (in other words, increased the value of stolen money or goods that makes a theft a felony as opposed to misdemeanor, leading to longer jail sentences for offenders). "Felony offenses typically carry a penalty of at least a year in state prison, while misdemeanors generally result in probation or less than a year in a locally run jail," the report notes. Since 2001, 30 states have raised the thresholds, massively reducing costs for state budgets.

Critics complained that this would lead to more property crime because offenders wouldn't be deterred if the penalty for smaller thefts was a misdemeanor rather than a felony. 

But after examining crime trends in 23 states that raised their felony theft thresholds between 2001 and 2011, Pew found that this concern did not come to fruition. Raising the felony theft threshold did not lead to more crime:  

Raising the felony theft threshold has no impact on overall property crime or larceny rates.

States that increased their thresholds reported roughly the same average decrease in crime as the 27 states that did not change their theft laws.

The amount of a state’s felony theft threshold—whether it is $500, $1,000, $2,000, or more—is not correlated with its property crime and larceny rates.

That includes Arkansas, where Act 570, passed in 2011, raised the felony theft threshold from $500 to $1,000:

click to enlarge pew.png

Lindsey's cover story on prisons last summer notes that the legislature moved for more aggressive sentencing for residential burglary — making two convictions an automatic felony — in the omnibus crime bill passed last year: 

But for every two steps forward, the legislature took at least one step back. It made residential burglary a violent crime as far as habitual offender sentencing goes, which means two convictions for residential burglary* without a weapon would net someone with an otherwise clean record at least five years without parole and a third conviction could earn someone at least 30 years without parole. Life for parolees is already hard — ex-cons routinely have difficulty securing housing and finding work (Gov. Hutchinson said their unemployment rate in Arkansas is 47 percent), on top of the hurdles of adjusting to a world that may have changed substantially since they left for prison. Now, because of the new crime law, they and probationers are subject to search by any law enforcement officer without a warrant. The new act did not reduce sentences for any crimes.

Sign up for the Daily Update email


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

  • DHS continues to reimburse Medicaid managed care company co-owned by Preferred Family Healthcare

    The Department of Human Services continues to use a provider-led Medicaid managed care company that is part-owned by Preferred Family Healthcare, despite a recent decision to cut other ties with the Springfield, Mo.-based nonprofit enmeshed in multiple corruption scandals.
    • Jul 13, 2018
  • State yanks PFH funds

    Another former executive with scandal-plagued mental health provider arrested.
    • Jul 5, 2018
  • Robin Raveendran and Person 9 in the Cranford/Preferred Family Healthcare web

    The federal criminal information released as part of former lobbyist Rusty Cranford's June 7 guilty plea on bribery charges describes a Person 9 who worked for the nonprofit healthcare provider Preferred Family Healthcare and was associated with Cranford. The description of Person 9 appears to match Robin Raveendran, the former PFH executive — and former longtime staffer at the state's Department of Human Services — who was arrested Thursday in a separate case, charged in Independence County with two felony counts of Medicaid fraud after an investigation by the state's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
    • Jun 29, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel applauds Trump's EPA choice of climate change denier Scott Pruitt

    Dustin McDaniel gives the thumbs up to a man set to dismantle EPA regulations.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Tom Cotton's influence on Trump's new security chief

    U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is getting credit for pushing President Donald Trump to select Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser, Politico reports.
    • Feb 21, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Winds, race and an open line

    • NVR, at least you didn't have to worry today with the power out about the…

    • on July 21, 2018
  • Re: Winds, race and an open line

    • Thanks plainjim. Being without AC is hard. No way to cool down. At least if…

    • on July 21, 2018
  • Re: Winds, race and an open line

    • Glad you are okay, NVR. I hope you are able to get back home soon.

    • on July 21, 2018



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation