In his statement at the sentencing, Knight said that "even though property was taken, no one was harmed."
That was too much for the judge. "This wasn't just a crime against property," he told the burglar. "This was a crime against people. Young men in Mr. Knight's position need to understand that if they make the choices Mr. Knight has made, the consequences will be serious."
That would be heartening, if true. But before the system can start issuing such consequences, everyone from police to prosecutors to judges would have to equate an invasion of someone's home with a violent physical assault. Although one crime leaves visible bruises, those heal. Both kinds of invasions, however, create lasting wounds of a deeper kind: They melt away security and erase trust.
Property crimes are often relatively easy to solve, with the right resources. All we lack is the will to take them seriously.
"Only" a Property Crime
Marc Fisher, a senior editor at the Washington Post, laments the fact that property crimes, including residential burglary, are not taken seriously. Resources are not devoted to solving them, and when the perpetrators are caught they are insufficiently punished. In Fisher's case, solving the crime was particularly easy. The burglar was so brazen that he used Fisher's son's stolen laptop to post his own picture with some of the stolen items on the son's Facebook page.