Holding car thieves and prowlers more accountable

With Washington state owning one of the highest property crime rates in the country during recent years, legislation aimed at preventing vehicle thefts sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban was passed today by the Washington State Senate.

“Property crime is one of the biggest issues facing Pierce County residents and our state as a whole,” said O’Ban, R-Pierce County. “So many of these crimes are committed by repeat offenders who haven’t faced serious enough consequences to make them change their behavior.”

The FBI defines property crime as the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, without using force or the threat of force against victims.

O’Ban’s legislation makes vehicle prowl and theft crimes count more in sentencing decisions, which factor in the severity of the crime and previous offenses, with the goal providing repeat offenders with longer and more appropriate sentences.

“People need to feel safe in their community and not just them personally, but their home, vehicle and other possessions,” said O’Ban. “Holding chronic offenders accountable is one of many ways to make our communities safer.”

The legislation passed 48-0 in the Senate and now heads to the House of Representatives for its consideration.