A committee made up of North Texas law enforcement and activists assembled to discuss potential legislation this past week. Up for discussion—the need for stronger property crime prevention and prosecution. According to the Dallas Morning News, area district attorneys and law enforcement are frustrated with the speed in which property crime violators are back on the streets committing more offenses.
According to Dallas Police Chief “It is becoming increasingly difficult for law enforcement to be successful against property crime with what happens down the line.” He is referring to the inability of prosecutors to remove offenders from the streets, instead allowing them to return to a life of petty thefts.
The key, the committee says, is in prevention and tougher prosecution. They seem to think expanding the DNA collection procedures could help, though it’s not clear how. Currently, DNA is collected for only felony offenses though they would like to see it applied to Class B misdemeanors as well.
The committee is also proposing changes to the prescription database of the Texas Department of Public Safety. This database tracks prescription sales, preventing “doctor shopping”. It allegedly takes too long, however, for the network to be updated, allowing people to doctor shop until the database catches up.
Committees like this one are designed to meet and discuss the interests of public safety. After discussing priorities and problem-areas, they determine which measures should be taken before the Legislature. Of course, there are no new laws drafted as of yet, the panel has simply narrowed their focus.
The interests of this committee are public safety. And while it’s true budgetary constraints don’t always allow for the most minor of criminal offenses to be harshly prosecuted, it isn’t clear that this would actually impact the crime rate in a significant manner.
While removing a thief from the streets will keep him from committing further thefts, his incarceration won’t likely prevent others. In other words—until preventative measures are taken more seriously than punitive ones, there will always be someone to take that thief’s place.
If you are facing charges of theft of even criminal mischief you can typically expect to face a more lenient penalty than someone facing assault charges, for instance. However, if the damage or theft involves a larger amount of money, your penalties are increased proportionately.
When facing any criminal charges, regardless of how “minor” they might seem, an experienced defense attorney can be a true asset. Contact me today for a consultation on your case and to see how I may be able to help.