When some people hear that someone is a criminal, they often imagine a violent person. Studies show that people in the U.S. assume the crime rate is high even though evidence proves otherwise. Violent crime is actually at a low rate; there has been a steady and sharp decline in violent crime since 1993.

Criminals are often not dangerous people. Individuals facing criminal charges or convictions are often ordinary citizens who may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time or made the wrong judgment. Many who commit crimes are not violent or want to cause physical harm to others. Crime statistics show that property offenses are far more prevalent than violent ones. Here are some of the most common nonviolent crimes:

1. Property crimes

There are many offenses that fall under the umbrella of property crime, including:

  • Shoplifting
  • Theft
  • Larceny
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Vandalism

These crimes all relate to stealing or destroying property. Interestingly, the rate of property crime fell 48 percent from 1993 to 2016. 

2. Drug crimes

Illicit drug offenses include:

  • Possession
  • Trafficking
  • Manufacturing
  • Cultivation

Illegal drugs that may land someone behind bars, even if he or she is not violent, include marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA, PCP and LSD. 

3. White collar crimes

Another type of criminal activity considered non-violent is white-collar crime. This refers to a wide variety of offenses characterized by partaking in deceit and fraud for financial gain. Some common white-collar crimes are:

  • Insurance fraud
  • Tax evasion
  • Embezzlement
  • Money laundering
  • Insider trading
  • Credit card fraud

Individuals, groups or organizations may commit white-collar crimes. 

4. Cyber

Cybercrimes occur via computer technology and the internet. Some examples of cybercrime include:

  • Phishing
  • Identity theft
  • Hacking
  • Extortion
  • Harassment and cyberbullying
  • Copyright infringement

These offenses may take place via computers, but they can have real-world consequences. 

Even though these crimes may not be violent, they can come with harsh legal consequences.