What is the difference between burglary and robbery?

The main differences between burglaries and robberies include the presence of victims, the use of force and the location of the crime.

It can be hard to know the difference between some crimes in Florida. Burglary and robbery, for example, both have to do with theft, but each has some unique characteristics that make the crimes quite different. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the crime rate is one big difference between the two. In a single year, there were 100,909 burglaries and 20,132 robberies in the state.

The presence of victims

Neither robbery nor burglary is a victimless crime. The main definition of these two wrongdoings is that some type of property is stolen, which means that someone is going to be victimized by the theft of his or her belongings. However, only a robbery actually has to involve the presence of at least one victim according to its legal definition.

A burglary usually takes place without any victims being present. However, if a person were sleeping in his or her home, the house could still be burgled if the thief simply breaks in, steals items and leaves.

The use of force

Force, the use of physical strength to get into something, can be involved in either a burglary or a robbery. For example, the thief may have to use force to get into a home or to open a safe. A burglary almost always includes this type of force, but a robbery may not.

Force, the use of threats or coercion to make someone do something against their will, is only used in a robbery. For example, when a victim is threatened at gunpoint to hand over his or her money, it would be classified as a robbery as opposed to a burglary.

The location of the crime

The last noteworthy difference between these two types of property theft is their location. A robbery can take place on the street, in a home, at a bank or at a park to name a few. When someone is using intimidation or threats to force someone else to give them something of value, it is classified as a robbery regardless of where the interaction takes place.

A burglary, on the other hand, has to include unlawful entry into a structure according to its legal definition. In other words, a burglary has to happen on private property in some type of building. The private property could be a person's home, storage shed or business.

Understanding the characteristics that make certain crimes different from each other can help Florida residents have a better grasp on legal jargon. Whether someone is accused of burglary or robbery, it may be beneficial to work with an attorney who is familiar with these types of criminal law cases.