Make Car Theft a Crime

Washington State must get tougher on car thieves, particularly juveniles. Currently it takes five convictions before a juvenile car thief can receive more than 30 days detention. Upon the fifth conviction for auto theft, the juvenile offender receives a sentence of 15 to 36 weeks. The sentencing range for a first-time adult charged with auto theft is 0 to 60 days in jail. It takes seven convictions before an adult auto thief faces a prison sentence. Even then, the 12-month sentence becomes an actual sentence of six months after good time reductions are factored in. (Source: King County Prosecutor\'s Office) We, the undersigned, think penalties are appropriate even for first-time juvenile offenders--many of whom have stolen other vehicles without getting caught. We also think restitution is an important component of rehabilitation. They need to know they are costing their victims money, and they need to be responsible for paying that back. Anything short of this sends a message to would-be car thieves that they can get caught stealing multiple cars without facing serious penalties. It also gives adult criminals incentive to hire teens to do their stealing, as they have more \"strikes.\" Unless our goal is to train car thieves to be better at stealing, letting them get away with it so many times is counterproductive. It\'s also costing Washington\'s citizens dearly in damage, lost productivity, and shattered peace of mind.

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Martha Brockenbrough Cherie Sato-Murphy

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    Erin Hughes, United States

    6 years ago
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    Martha Brockenbrough, United States

    7 years ago
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    Elizabeth Lykins, United States

    7 years ago Comments: If there were more serious consequences for bad behavior, maybe it will be deterred. It's worth a try.
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