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Bill would increase penalties for crimes committed in evacuation zones

Kai Porter
March 09, 2017 06:41 PM

Lawmakers are considering a bill aimed at keeping homeowners and firefighters safe in the event of an evacuation.

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The bill would increase the penalties for anyone who commits a property crime in an evacuation zone. Property crimes were a problem during last year’s Dog Head fire.

The Dog Head fire was in Representative Matthew McQueen’s district, and that’s why he has come up with this bill. Other Democrats are sponsoring the bill.

Any charges for property crimes during an evacuation would increase by one. This means a fourth-degree felony would then become a third-degree felony.

 “We want the people to feel secure enough to leave so they’re out of harm’s way. And once they’re out of harm’s way we make sure our firefighters can worry about fighting the fire and not worry about doing rescues. So it protects firefighters as well,” said McQueen.

 McQueen also hopes that his bill would help keep criminals from preying on evacuees and targeting their homes.

“We want people to know that this is not an opportunity and if you go into an evacuation zone to commit a crime we’re going to come down harder on you,” said Representative McQueen.

The bill is working its way through the house committee process. 

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Kai Porter

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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