Why We Created a Course on Theft Prevention.

Project Bono

The latest addition to the Project Bono library of court-ordered-courses is Theft Prevention. Otherwise known as larceny, theft is defined by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program as the unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession of another. Among these are thefts of bicycles, motor vehicle parts and accessories, shoplifting, pocket-picking, package theft, or any other type of theft that is not committed through force, violence, or fraud.

The FBI’s UCR Program reported that the rate of theft or attempted theft in 2018 was 1,594.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. In that year, victims of theft lost an average of $6 billion nationwide.

Misdemeanor Theft

In the state of California, if the value of stolen goods is valued under $950, it is considered a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of $1,000. Those that are convicted of larceny will often be required to complete probation requirements like community service and enroll into a correctional education program like Project Bono in order to avoid jail time.

Rather than incarcerate individuals convicted of petty-larceny at the expense of the taxpayers, Project Bono's alternative allows offenders to be educated on the error of their ways while contributing a portion of enrollment proceeds towards community enrichment in order to offset the burden on taxpayers.

Porch Pirates

Millions of American consumers prefer online shopping for its convenience as ecommerce continues to grow rapidly. Home delivery is convenient, but it comes with a risk of package theft, which persists across the nation.

C+R Research's 2020 statistics report finds that 59% of 2,000 respondents receive a package weekly. In comparison with 2019, this is an increase of 10%. Since ecommerce spending has grown along with the COVID-19 pandemic and supply-chain constraints, many Americans choose online shopping because they are unable to find stock of items locally.

In total, 36% of respondents reported being victimized by a package theft in 2019, and 43% in 2020. Almost two-thirds (64%) of those who have had a package stolen say they have been victims of package theft more than once.

To prevent package theft, half of the victims have installed doorbell cameras, motion lights, or other surveillance cameras. However, these security measures aren't always effective against masked thieves.

Organized Looting and Theft "Trends"

Organized looting is nothing new. For centuries, there have been instances of people gathering and burglarizing businesses even in broad daylight. Today, you might come across security footage of groups of people driving a car through the front windows of an Apple store and looting the location-tracked devices on display.

At the start of the 2021 school year, a trend known as the Devious Licks Challenge gained traction on TikTok. The trend encouraged students to make videos of themselves stealing or vandalizing school property. This includes bathroom soap dispensers, exit signs, fire extinguishers, projectors, and computers. In one instance, a student stole the door of their principal’s car. This resulted in untold dollars of loss and damage.


Even while thieves are incarcerated and the money and goods are seized by authorities, thieves still manage to steal from taxpayers. Taxpayers cover the costs of food, housing, and prosecution of the incarcerated.

What our Theft Prevention course aims to do is provide those convicted with a comprehensive correction education on the consequences of the continuation of their actions as well as ways that they can be self-sustaining and seek employment even after a conviction on their record to alleviate the burden on taxpayers and prevent the incarcerated from continuing to steal after their sentencing.