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Do Thefts Increase Over the Holidays?

Man stealing a pair of jeans.

It's the most wonderful time of year for some. But under the pressures of the gifting season, some will resort to stealing.

Thefts increase over the holidays. The National Crime Victimization Survey notes in December, two types of crimes increase — personal larceny and robbery.


Theft starts with the unlawful taking of another's property without permission. The second component is the intent to deprive the owner of the property permanently. Common thefts include shoplifting. Theft from a person (like pickpocketing) has increased penalties. Theft from a home or building may meet the standards for burglary.

Theft is more common during the holidays for a variety of reasons. People are typically out of their homes more often. Parties provide access to unattended property. Home deliveries increase dramatically. People carry more cash with them as they shop for gifts. Finally, the stress of the holidays and the pressure to provide gifts can lead people to act out of character, making them more likely to commit crimes such as theft.


Robbery involves taking another person's property by force or threat of force. Robbery is distinguished from other theft because it involves physical force or intimidation.

There are reasons why robbery rates increase during the holidays. Similar to theft, there is more opportunity to commit robberies when people shop and run errands. Additionally, the stress of the holidays can lead to extreme reactions.

Accused of a Crime this Holiday?

If you are accused of a crime this holiday season, you may contact Branstad & Olson. We can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights. Contact us online or by phone. (515) 329-3100

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