If you are caught in a natural disaster, one of the last things you’re going to worry about is the legal consequences of stealing when you need something to survive. When a natural disaster hits, one of the main questions people have is whether or not it’s a crime to take things from stores. Looting is a criminal act in normal circumstances, but does that apply to taking groceries during a heavy flood or hurricane?
In Houston, there are floods that cover roadways and flood out homes. Individuals have no way to go buy groceries. Now, the police have to decide if looting is against the law in these extreme situations.
One report stated that looting was taking place at a local grocery store. The individuals looting there may have been taking necessary provisions and food that they needed to survive. With price gouging making it nearly impossible to purchase things such as a pack of bottled water, it’s no surprise that some people decided to steal.
Experts have argued that common citizens, not hardened criminals, often have to resort to looting for resources during events like Hurricane Harvey. Taking these provisions helps ensure their survival while saving their much-needed financial assets for other necessities later on.
Officers have stated that they would arrest and jail those caught looting during the storm. Is that fair? Depending on the circumstances, you or anyone else accused of looting may have a good defense against the charges. Our website has more on what to do if you’re facing criminal charges and want to fight back.