With a great population comes great crime, and Harris County definitely has a great population. In fact, it’s the most populous county in Texas, and third most populous in the entire country. Within its borders are Houston, Spring, Cypress, Humble, La Porte, and Pasadena to name just a few. As some may know, Humble is considered the most dangerous city in Texas and has some of the highest crime rates around. However, we’ve compiled the top 3 most common crimes in Harris County to find that all three are property crimes (thank goodness)! The top 3 most common crimes in Harris County are theft, burglary, and grand theft auto.

Harris County top 3 crimes rate theft burglary and auto theft

Theft in Harris County

Nearly half of all crimes in Harris County are theft charges. Harris County courts are actually pretty straight-forward when sentencing theft charges. The definition of theft is illegally stealing or taking items, objects, money, or anything of value without one-on-one contact with a victim. 

If there is direct contact with a victim, the charge upgrades to robbery (which is a violent crime and typically a felony charge). Theft charges in Harris County can range anywhere from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the value of the stolen item and the defendant’s criminal history. Additionally, theft doesn’t involve breaking into anything (such as a machine, habitation, or vehicle). If that were the case, the crime would be upgraded to burglary.

Class B Misdemeanor Theft: when someone steals or takes an item worth between $50 to $500.

Class A Misdemeanor Theft: when the item stolen is worth between $500 to $1,500.

State Jail Felony Theft: when someone steals or takes an item worth between $1,500 to $20,000.

Third Degree Felony Theft: when the item stolen is worth between $20,000 and $100,000.

Second Degree Felony Theft: when someone steals or takes an item worth between $100,000 and $200,000.

First Degree Felony Theft: when the item stolen is worth $200,000 or more.

RELATED: Will You Get Your Bail Money Back?

Burglary in Harris County

Burglary is the second most common crime in Harris County, and it’s entirely different from theft. Unlike a theft charge, burglary refers to breaking into something. Whether a residence, business, vehicle, or a snack machine, if you illegally break into something to obtain something else, it’s burglary. When Harris County courts make a formal burglary charge, they consider the following:

  • What was broken into
  • The intent for breaking in
  • The defendant’s criminal history

Of course, breaking into a snack machine is much different than breaking into somebody’s home. The possibilities of a formal burglary charge span across a wide spectrum of possible scenarios:

Class A Misdemeanor Burglary: attempting to break into a coin-operated or vending machine, or in some cases, a vehicle.

State Jail Felony Burglary: if someone breaks into or illegally enters a building other than a habitation, it’s a state jail felony.

Second Degree Felony Burglary: when someone breaks into or illegally enters a habitation without the intent to commit a felony.

First Degree Felony Burglary: when someone breaks into or illegally enters a habitation with the intent to commit a felony. This also applies if any single member of the criminal party had the intention.

SEE: When Can Courts Deny Bail?

Grand Theft Auto in Harris County

Grand theft is the theft of property worth more than $1,500 but less than $20,000. However, in Texas, theft of a car is always grand theft, even if the car is not worth very much. Before making an official grand theft charge, Harris County courts must first verify that the defendant:

  • Took or drove a vehicle that belonged to someone else
  • Had no intention of giving it back to the owner

In Texas, most motor vehicle thefts are punishable by 180 days to 10 years in state jail along with a fine of up to $10,000.

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