Difference Between Burglary and Larceny


Main Difference

These both the words showing crime are often used interchangeably to explain the theft have taken place. But while studying them keenly and after knowing the status of these both crimes, one can easily differ between them. As the burglary is someone breaking or entering to the house with intention of any crime, that can be theft, rape or anything else, whereas Larceny is committed when a person takes some one’s property in an unlawful manner (without telling) with the intent of permanently depriving the owner. Here it should be kept mentioned that while these both crimes are being committed, the victim might not be present at the scene, but the real difference lies in both these as in Burglary the offender breaks or enters into the building.

What is Burglary?

It is defined by the law as theunlawful entry to a structure to commit theft or a felony. In order for burglary to take place,a victim does not have to be present. When a burglary takes place, the structure being unlawfully entered can be any number of building types including business offices, personal homes and even garden sheds. Burglary is not the term used for crimes committed on cars. The common law burglary was defined by Sir Matthew Hale as: The breaking and entering the house of another in the nighttime, with intent to commit a felony therein, whether the felony be actually committed or not. Common types of burglary include simple burglary, aggravated burglary, home invasion, looters etc.


What is Larceny?

In easy words it can be explained as a crime of stealing but to further know about how it is being carried is that the one who gets deprived from his property (things) didn’t actually knows about this crime at the time. As mentioned above in larceny one’s property is taken with letting him/ her without knowing about this. The Larceny is further divided into two types, Grand Larceny and Petty Larceny. To know more about the Larceny, it should be known that if at the time of taking thing one doesn’t intends to permanently deprive the owner of the property, even then it is a Larceny. This crime is also often seen in society as one envious of others property, takes it without the permission of the person (victim).


Key Differences

  1. In burglary the criminals unlawfully breaks into ones’ home with intention of any crime, whereas Larceny one doesn’t break or enter illegally at a place to do so.
  2. Most often, in larceny one deprives the victim form his material like goods and money, whereas in Burglary beside taking one’s goods offender can be with intention of spying or raping anyone in the building.
  3. Entering anyone’s car and stealing the material from there without the victim knowing about it (means without applying force on the victim), this is called Larceny. And if one breaks into the house and steals the material this is an example of Burglary.
  4. Burglary is a serious crime than Larceny and the punishment can be severe in it, while it varies from the conditions it has taken place and the monetarily damage done to the victim.
  5. In cases of Larceny, Restitution (repayment) is often ordered, whereas in Burglary it might be the case after keenly knowing about one’s illegal entrance of one’s building.
Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson