The Full Harm of Burglary

Karen Bass, a member of Congress and candidate for LA Mayor, was the victim of a home burglary recently. KTTV has this interview.

Ms. Bass says “my safety was shattered” and describes returning home to find the house burgled as “traumatic.” But isn’t burglary a “non-violent property crime”? Aren’t people who commit such crimes nearly harmless, to be handled with kid gloves and let off lightly? That’s what the folks on Ms. Bass’s side of the aisle have been telling us for years, and California has seen a cascade of laws designed to water down the consequences of committing such crimes.

The reality is that burglary does cause significant psychological harm that is often more serious than the value of property taken or the cost of repairing the break-in damage. It is a violation of the sanctity of the home. Many victims make an analogy to a sexual assault. Some people feel compelled to move, unable to live any longer in the house that has been their home for many years.

Burglary of a residence is a serious crime, deserving of serious punishment. We need to rid ourselves of the delusion that all crimes classified as “non-violent” or “property” are not serious.

2 Responses

  1. Ron Matthias says:

    Property crimes disproportionately impact lower-income citizens who (a) commonly live and work in areas where criminal conduct is most prevalent, (b) can least afford self-protection measures such alarm systems, private security patrols, or even mid-grade locks and other decent door/window hardware, and (c) are often under-insured and otherwise poorly positioned to absorb the financial setbacks that theft and property destruction inflict. Of course, Karen Bass, a resident of Baldwin Vista where 3 BR homes run about $1.4m, will probably be able to bounce back with relatively little difficulty.