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Offenses Against Property

Crimes against property are offenses involving property and include both crimes in which property is destroyed and crimes in which property is stolen or taken against the owner's will. A broad range of offenses are classified as crimes against property, including those having to do with taking property, with destroying property, and with wrongfully using or possessing property.

The following DCV offenses are not required to be reported to law enforcement, but depending on the severity of the offense law enforcement contact could prove beneficial and/or necessary.

Is arson a criminal offense?

Yes. According to Code of Virginia § 18.2-79, burning or destroying a meeting house or school constitutes a Class 4 felony if no person occupies the building and a Class 3 felony if at least one person occupies the building.

Click the offense below to read the DCV Definition

AR1 — Arson

Is vandalism a criminal offense?

Yes. Code of Virginia § 18.2-138 specifically prohibits damaging public buildings and materials in libraries and schools. This constitutes a Class 6 felony if damage to the property is $1,000 or more or a Class 1 misdemeanor if the damage is less than $1,000.

In addition, any person who willfully and unlawfully damages or defaces any book, newspaper, magazine, pamphlet, map, picture, manuscript, or other property located in any library, reading room, museum, or other educational institution shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony if damage to the property is $1,000 or more or a Class 1 misdemeanor if the damage is less than $1,000.

Graffiti or “tagging” falls within this definition.

Can students who vandalize a school be made to repair the damage or pay for repairs?

Yes. Code of Virginia § 8.01-43 specifically addresses minors who are caught damaging public property and action that can be taken against the parents:

“The Commonwealth, acting through the officers having charge of the public property involved, or the governing body of a county, city, town, or other political subdivision, or a school board may institute an action and recover from the parents or either of them of any minor living with such parents or either of them for damages suffered by reason of the willful or malicious destruction of, or damage to, public property by such minor. No more than $2,500 may be recovered from such parents or either of them as a result of any incident or occurrence on which such action is based.”

Additionally, Code of Virginia § 22.1-280.4 authorizes school boards to take action against a student or his parents:

“A school board may take action against a pupil or the pupil's parent for any actual loss, breakage, or destruction of or failure to return property owned by or under the control of the school board, caused or committed by such pupil in pursuit of his studies. Such action may include seeking reimbursement from a pupil or the pupil's parent for any such loss, breakage, or destruction of or failure to return school property.”

Click the offense below to read the DCV Definition

VA1 — Vandalism

Is it a crime to trespass on school property?

Yes. Code of Virginia § 18.2-128 prohibits trespass upon church or school property. Trespassing on school property is defined as:

  • Any person who, without the consent of some person authorized to give such consent, goes or enters upon, in the nighttime, the premises or property of any church or upon any school property for any purpose other than to attend a meeting or service held or conducted in such church or school property. This is a Class 3 misdemeanor.
  • It shall be unlawful for any person, whether or not a church member or student, to enter upon or remain upon any church or school property in violation of:
    • any direction to vacate the property by a person authorized to give such direction, or
    • any posted notice which contains such information, posted at a place where it reasonably may be seen. Each time such person enters upon or remains on the posted premises or after such direction that person refuses to vacate such property; it shall constitute a separate offense.
  • A violation of this subsection shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor, except that any person, other than a parent, who violates this subsection on school property with the intent to abduct a student, shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

Click the offense below to read the DCV Definition

TR1 — Trespassing

What is burglary?

Code of Virginia § 18.2-89 defines burglary as breaking and entering the dwelling of another with intent to commit a felony or any larceny.

Click the offense below to read the DCV Definition

BR1 — Breaking and Entering/Burglary

What is theft?

Theft, or larceny, is defined generally as the unlawful taking or carrying away of someone else's personal property with the intent to deprive the owner of it permanently.

Click the offense below to read the DCV Definition

TH1 — Theft - no force

TH2 — Theft - motor vehicle

What is the difference between petty larceny and grand larceny?

Code of Virginia § 18.2-96 states that petit larceny is defined as larceny from a person of money or other thing valued at less than $5 or larceny not from the person of goods valued at less than $200.

Grand larceny, Code of Virginia § 18.2-95, is defined as larceny from a person of money or other things valued at $5 or more, larceny not from the person of goods valued at $200 or more, or larceny not from the person of any firearm.

What about buying or receiving stolen goods?

Code of Virginia § 18.2-108 prohibits buying or receiving stolen goods. Anyone who buys or receives such goods, knowing them to be stolen, is guilty of larceny even if the person who stole the goods is not convicted.

VDOE Discipline, Crime and Violence Definitions

The Virginia Department of Education updates DCV Definitions annually.

For more information on reporting, visit VDOE's School Safety section.

Code of Virginia

The Virginia General Assembly has posted the entire Code of Virginia online for web searching. You can perform a search by using key word(s), phrases or section numbers. You can also use the Table of Contents to view all Titles, Chapters, and Sections.

To explore the searchable Code of Virginia, go to the Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System (LIS).