What is a burglary?The words robbery and burglary are frequently utilized interchangeably in motion pictures, TV shows, books and on the web. Burglary and robbery are two extremely unique criminal offenses with different criteria, investigative procedures and implications for the victim.

Keep reading to discover more about the distinctions between burglary and robbery consisting of how to respond if you become a victim of a burglary or a robbery. Plus, get suggestions on the best ways to secure yourself and your house without spending a small fortune.

Burglary is classified as a residential or commercial property criminal activity, whereas robbery is considered a violent criminal activity dedicated versus an individual. The FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines burglary as “unlawful or forcible entry or tried entry of a structure with the intent to commit a felony or theft.” Some states might specify and classify burglary somewhat differently.

Normally speaking, if an individual goes into a structure without approval and with the intent to devote a criminal offense, this is a burglary.  In contrast, the FBI specifies robbery as “taking or trying to take anything of worth from the care, custody, or control of a person or individuals by force or danger of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.”

Home InvasionIn plain English, if an individual attempts or takes to take something from another person and has either been violent to or terrified the victim, this is a robbery.



In accordance with FBI figures, thefts have a clearance rate of simply 12%, which means the odds of the crime being cleared or your possessions returned are pretty low. It may be much easier to trace if something very distinctive is taken. In addition, a string of robberies in a location may validate devoting more resources to solving the crimes.

A crime is considered a burglary if it fulfills all of the following requirements:

  • Illegal entry takes place. To be classed as an illegal entry, a person needs to get in a private structure without express authorization. Unlawful entry can include structures which are usually open to the general public but were closed at the time the burglary happened.
  • Forcible entry occurs.  Any action taken in order to gain entry to a building, aside from walking in through an open door, or climbing in through an open window, is a forcible entry. A burglar does not have to break a window or smash down a door.  Just turning a door handle or sliding aside a screen door suffices.
  • Actual entry or constructive entry takes place.  A person does not have to totally get in a structure to dedicate a burglary. As quickly as any part of their body is inside the structure the criminal offense is devoted. A hand reaching inside a doorway is enough. If the burglar utilizes a tool to gain entry, as quickly as that tool enters the structure, the criminal offense becomes burglary.
    • Actual entry is dedicated when a body part or a tool enters the structure
    • Constructive entry happens when somebody has actually not gotten in the building themselves however has triggered someone else to do so. An individual standing watch outside who has actually offered a fellow criminal an increase to get into a house is guilty of positive entry, even though they stay outside.
  • People or residential or commercial property might be inside the structure.  This does not have to be a house or other type of home; it can be any structure that is capable of sheltering people or residential or commercial property. Some states distinguish in between a commercial or property burglary, but this is generally for statistical functions.

  • Intent to devote a crime is shown.  To be thought about burglary, the robber should enter with the intent to devote a criminal activity, and this intent should be proven. If a person goes into with the intent of dedicating a crime, decides different and leaves, a burglary was still committed because the intent to dedicate a crime existed. On the other hand, if a person dedicates a criminal activity at the spur of the moment, it is not burglary. If your next-door neighbor enters your house with the intent of having a coffee with you and, while there, decides to take your bag, the criminal offense is considered theft however not burglary.
  • Any felony or theft takes place.  The intended criminal activity which might happen during a burglary is not restricted to theft; any felony applies. Typically speaking, a felony is any offense for which more than one year’s jail time is licensed, although, once again, this might vary a little from one state to another.


More resources are devoted to the examination of a robbery than a burglary as it is thought to be (generally) a violent criminal activity. These crimes have a 30% clearance rate, indicating they are more most likely to solved compared to burglary, especially in the cases where a distinct item was taken. Robberies where a person has been badly hurt also benefit from higher resources dedicated to discovering the perpetrator.

Robbery is categorized as a violent criminal offense and as a result carries stiffer sentences than burglary. Wrongdoer laws vary really slightly across the country, with some states identifying different types of robbery such as:

  • Home intrusion.  A robbery happening inside a home while people are there
  • Car-jacking.  Stealing a car while a person is inside it
  • Muggings.  Stealing from a person on the street
  • Armed robbery.  Any sort of robbery that happens while the criminal remains in possession of a lethal weapon

A criminal offense is considered robbery if it satisfies all the following criteria:

  • Taking or trying to take home.  The criminal offense does not need to be successful (from the criminal’s viewpoint) for it to count as a robbery. That person has actually still committed robbery if an individual tries to take a handbag, but is not successful.
  • Taking anything of worth (including non-monetary worth).  Monetary worth is often utilized to choose how serious the offense is, but the taken product does not need to deserve cash. If a locket holds emotional worth and is taken from its owner’s neck, it does not matter that it is useless, financially speaking, it is still considered robbery.
  • Items are is taken from its owner or another’s care.  The residential or commercial property taken does not need to be owned by the robbery victim. For example, when a criminal breaks into a safe-deposit box, it is thought to be robbery (as long as all the other criteria of a robbery are satisfied). The contents of the enclosure belong to the owner but remain in the custody of the bank.  Similarly, a victim does not need to be holding the item. If a robber informs a store clerk to go out the back and then steals the contents of the cash register, it is still a robbery, even though the money register is no longer in the presence of the clerk.
  • Items needs to be taken from an individual.  A robbery does not occur unless something is actually taken from somebody. If a criminal get into a house and takes something, but there is nobody home, it can not be a robbery, however it might be a burglary.
  • The victim is harmed or terrified.  The victim of a robbery doesn’t need to suffer any injury for the criminal activity to be thought to be a robbery. Force or violence can include:.
    • A push or a shove.
    • Being told, “Give me your cash or I’ll cut you.”.
    • Grabbing an item from a victim’s hands.

The suggested danger of force or violence is enough. For example, if a robber exposes a weapon but doesn’t threaten to utilize it, it can be presumed they might and this is a danger of violence.

What does the difference imply for victims?

Burglary is classified as a property crime, whereas robbery is thought about a violent criminal activity against an individual. Generally, you should call 911 immediately if you are the victim of a robbery.

The differences between a robbery and a burglary have ramifications for how victims should respond in each case, as well as how the criminal activity will be examined and the kind of assistance a victim may receive afterward. Keep reading to discover exactly what to do if you’re the victim of a burglary or a robbery, as well as what to get out of police.

What should I do if my home is broken into?

If your home is robbed, you must right away call the police to begin an investigation into the criminal activity. Be sure to wait until the cops have conducted their initial investigation before touching anything or tidying up. A uniformed officer will come to your home and ask you questions like:.

  • How did the burglar go in?
  • Was there anybody home?
  • Was anything broken or harmed?
  • What was taken?
  • Who knew you wouldn’t be home?
  • Have you had unusual visitors at your door?
  • Have you observed anything unusual in the area?

Throughout the investigation, a police officer will record your answers, make observations while inside and outside of your house and might gather physical proof. For the majority of robberies however, victims should not anticipate a Hawaii Five-O-like group or examination of the crime scene.

As soon as the preliminary examination is completed, you will be offered a contact number for follow-up details. Law enforcement may likewise question next-door neighbors or other potential witnesses. This might take place throughout the preliminary visit or on a follow-up visit.

In addition to filing a police report, burglary victims must take the following actions:.

  • Take images of any damage for your insurer.
  • List all damage and products stolen.
  • Review security around your home.

If you have homeowner’s insurance coverage, being the victim of a burglary may also impact your insurance premiums, something that could be offset by the installation of a home security alarm system.

What should I do if I’m robbed?

You should call 911 ASAP if you are the victim of a robbery. Make sure to wait in a safe area for law enforcement and emergency assistance to arrive to the scene. If you need medical attention, seek help right away.  In addition, ask any witnesses to stay at the scene till authorities arrive. Make note of whatever occurred as quickly as possible. It’s important not to damage/hamper any proof, so do not tidy or clean the crime scene prior to law enforcement showing up.

Be prepared to respond to concerns from law enforcement, including but not limited to:

  • What occurred during the robbery?
  • What took place before the robbery?
  • Which direction did the thief go when leaving?
  • How did the robber leave the scene (on foot, in a car or truck, and so on)?
  • How did the thief appear? What were they wearing?
  • What was taken?
  • Were you are hurt, and if so, how?
  • Police might likewise ask for copies of your medical records detailing your treatment after the robbery.

Ask the law enforcement officer for information on who to contact later on to follow up on your case. If you get medical treatment, ask the physician to plainly describe your injuries to you. If you needed medical attention, you need to anticipate follow-up check visits/calls from the officer examining your case.

You might certify for aid from your local criminal offense victim compensation board. This help can include payment of medical costs, victim advocacy services and support to assist your recuperation from the assault.  

How to minimize becoming a burglary or robbery victim

There are no guarantees to keep you or a loved one from becoming the victim of a criminal offense. You can set up a monitored home security alarm system to protect your house from burglars and thieves.  You should keep valuable items such as jewelry, electronics and other high price tag items secured or at least not easily visible when you are not home. 
Robbery is a more hazardous criminal activity, which means it’s clearly essential to take steps to prevent becoming a victim.


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