Duluth Police More Focused on Property Crimes Than Violence

When you turn on the news today, you hear a lot of talk about law and order. In Duluth, there’s a focus on law and order but not in the way you may think.

According to the Duluth Police Chief, violent crime in the city is not on the rise. Violent crimes such as homicide. In fact, if there are crimes that are on the rise, then it’s crimes involving physical property. Theft continues to be a problem in Minnesota, in Duluth and beyond.

In Minnesota, property crimes are known as “criminal damage to property” which is defined as intentional damage done to public or private property. It is divided into distinct charges based on the severity of the crime.

Criminal Damage to Property in the First Degree

The most serious offense associated with property damage is first-degree criminal property damage. This is charged if a person intentionally damages property without the consent of the owner and does any of the following:

  • Damaged a public safety vehicle knowingly
  • Caused property damage that increased the risk of bodily harm
  • Reduced the value of the property by more than $1,000
  • Reduced the value of the property by more than $500 and have been convicted in the last three years of criminal property damage

First-degree criminal property damage is prosecuted as a felony in Minnesota. If found guilty, then the penalty is a fine up to $10,000 and a prison sentence up to five years.

Criminal Property Damage in the Second Degree

Minnesota has various laws that work to enhance penalties for crimes that are believed to be motivated by bias or hate – also known as hate crimes. Second-degree criminal property damage is considered a hate crime. It is charged if the offense is determined to be done to another person’s property based on any of these factors:

  • National origin
  • Race
  • Age
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion

In Minnesota, the is also considered a felony. It’s punishable by fines up to $3,000 and up to one year in prison.

Criminal Damage to Property in the Third Degree

Third-degree criminal damage to property is another crime that can be motivated by bias.  But it differs from second-degree damage to property in how much damage is actually done. If the damage to the property is more than $500 but less than $1,000, then a person can be charged with this crime.

Third-degree criminal damage to property can also be charged if you damage a public safety vehicle knowingly but it doesn’t have to be damaged to the point that its function is impaired. As long as the value isn’t reduced by more than $1,000, then this level of crime can be charged – and it’s considered a gross misdemeanor.

The penalty for third-degree criminal damage to property is up to one year in jail and fines up to $3,000.

Criminal Damage to Property in the Fourth Degree

Criminal Damage to Property Lawyers Duluth

Fourth-degree criminal damage to property is a crime where less than $500 damage was done to the property. It’s a misdemeanor but is still punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000.

Property crimes occur often here in Minnesota, and sometimes it’s not even intentional. If you’ve been charged, and have questions about why or need help deciding on your next best steps, an experienced Minnesota theft crimes attorney can be a great resource and guide to you. Reach out!


About the Author:

Andrew T. Poole is a Minnesota native who has served in the Army for more than 18 years and is currently a JAG lawyer in the Army Reserves in addition to serving as a partner at LaCourse, Poole & Envall. He has handled thousands of criminal and family law cases over the course of his career and has a firm belief that all hardworking Minnesotans should be entitled to the best possible legal counsel. Mr. Poole boasts a 10/10 Superb rating on Avvo, is Lead Counsel rated, and has been recognized multiple times by SuperLawyers, National Trial Lawyers, and others for his work.