Difference Between Robbery and Burglary


Main Difference

Robbery and burglary are both crimes that involve theft and the circumstances they are carried under defines their differences. When it comes to the legal definition of theft there are actually a number of categories of theft in addition to burglary and robbery. These additional theft crimes include: larceny, theft and extortion.The one main difference in burglary and robbery is that in robbery a victim must be present at the scene whereas in burglary a victim does not have to be present.

What is Robbery?

It is defined by the law as taking or trying totake something from someone that has value by utilizing intimidation, force or threat. In order for robbery to take place, a victim must be presentat the scene and can occur with a single victim or, in cases like bank hold ups, multiple victims. Among the types of robbery are armed robbery involving use of a weapon and aggravated robbery involving use of a deadly weapon or something that appears to be a deadly weapon. Highway robbery or “mugging” takes place outside or in a public place such as a sidewalk, street, or parking lot. Carjacking is the act of stealing a car from a victim by force. Extortion is the threat to do something illegal, or the offer to not do something illegal, in the event that goods are not given, primarily using words instead of actions. Criminal slang for robbery includes “Blagging” (armed robbery, usually of a bank) or “stick-up” (derived from the verbal command to robbery targets to raise their hands in the air), and “steaming” (organized robbery on underground train systems).


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.


Key Differences

  1. In order for burglary to take place, a victim does not have to be present but in the robbery, a victim has to be present on the scene.
  2. Burglary involves the entrance into a structure when an individual is not permitted to be with the intent to commit a crime. Robbery is characterized by the utilization of fear or force in order to take personal property belonging to another.
  3. The most commonly recognized example of burglary is the breaking and entering into a home when the primary residents are away on vacation. The most commonly recognized example of robbery is the hold-up of a convenience store; this may or may not include the use of a weapon.
  4. Robbery is the felonious and violent taking of any money or goods from the person of another, putting him in fear, be the value thereof above or under one shilling but in burglary the victim is not present at the scene so violence and threatening does not involve.
  5. Burglary mostly attempted in the night whereas robbery is attempted at any time anywhere
  6. Weapons are involved in the robbery but in burglary use of weapons is quite rare.
  7. The degree of the burglary is determined based upon the specific circumstances under which the act occurred. A suspect that is convicted of robbery is looking at a maximum prison term of 25 years and a minimum of 5 years.
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