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Don't let mischief become a felony this Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner, which means children and adults across Tennessee are getting their costumes ready and finalizing their plans for the holiday.

If you are the parent of a teenager, another critical step in preparing for Halloween should be to discuss with your child the very real consequences that can arise if he or she engages in unlawful conduct on Halloween, including property crimes. 

Reports note that insurance claims resulting from a crime on Halloween are 24 percent higher than on other days. These crimes include robbery, burglary and vandalism. As such, police will likely be on alert and ready to make arrests for these offenses in the coming weeks. And make no mistake about it: conviction of these crimes can result in serious penalties.

Robbery

Robbery is theft involving the use of violence or force. In Tennessee, state laws recognize three different levels of this crime: robbery, aggravated robbery and especially aggravated robbery. All offenses are felonies and can result in anywhere from three to 60 years in prison, depending on the specific elements of the offense.

Burglary

Burglary is theft or intent to commit theft by entering a building, habitation or vehicle without the owner's consent. Breaking into a car or sneaking in someone's house are especially common examples of burglary during Halloween. Burglary at any level is also a felony and can result in huge fines and lengthy prison sentences if a person is convicted.

Vandalism

Young people often think vandalism is little more than a harmless prank. They might egg someone's house, spray paint a garage, break car windows or otherwise damage property without understanding the consequences. However, vandalism can result in orders for restitution, jail time and fines that increase in relation to the amount of damage done.

Considering the fact that these types of property crimes increase on and around Halloween, it can be wise to discuss with your children why it is so important to avoid such acts sooner, rather than later.

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