Larceny-theft (UCR) | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee


Course: Introduction

Larceny-theft is a Uniform Crime Report (UCR) category defined as “The unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another.”

Larceny-theft is a category of crime in the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) that involves the unlawful taking of property from another person’s possession or constructive possession. This category includes a wide range of theft-related crimes, from shoplifting to grand theft auto.

Larceny-theft is a non-violent crime and does not involve the use of force or threat of force to take property. Instead, it typically involves thefts of opportunity or crimes of deception. For example, a person may steal a package from a porch, shoplift items from a store, or embezzle funds from an employer.

The UCR distinguishes between two types of larceny-theft: petit (or petty) larceny and grand larceny. Petit larceny involves the theft of property with a value of less than a specified amount, typically $500 or less. Grand larceny, on the other hand, involves the theft of property with a value above the specified amount. The specific dollar amount that distinguishes between petit and grand larceny varies by jurisdiction.

Larceny-theft is a common crime in the United States and accounts for a significant portion of all reported crimes. According to the FBI’s UCR Program, larceny-theft was the most commonly reported Part I property crime in the United States in 2019, accounting for 72.5% of all property crimes reported.

Larceny-theft can have significant financial and emotional consequences for victims. In addition to the loss of property, victims may experience feelings of violation, fear, and insecurity. Larceny-theft can also have broader societal consequences, as it can contribute to a sense of lawlessness and a lack of trust in institutions.

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Last Modified: 04/05/2023

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