As you said, the values of the people will often determine the severity of a crime in the eyes of the law, and the public.
For example, a more conservative area may have stiffer penalties for drug offenses, ranking them in a higher felony or misdemeanor class. A more liberal area, on the other hand, may consider drug offenses as more of a disease, trading jail time for rehabilitation and drug court. A drug possession charge that may be a class c felony in Texas may only be a class a misdemeanor in Vermont.
However, this same liberal area may consider gun crimes more offensive than a conservative area, ranking them higher in the classification system. A weapons charge in a rural area may only be a minor felony, while the same charge would be a major offense in many urban areas.