According to statistics from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation report on property crimes as part of the legacy Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, there were about 8 million property crimes reported in 2016. Of those nearly 8 million reported crimes, burglary represented about 19 percent of the crimes committed. The losses from those crimes totaled more than $15 billion for the victims. Larceny/theft represented a much bigger number. What exactly is burglary then? It can be a misunderstood term under the law, in which many folks believe that it is only burglary if property was stolen from the result of the breaking and entering of premises. That is not necessarily the case, though that act does still constitute burglary under the law. 

According to reputable legal experts, burglary constitutes any person who breaks into and unlawfully enters a property such as home, business or vehicle and comitts a crime or has the intent to commit a crime on those premises. This can include the following:

  • Breaking into nearly any type of structure without permission from the owner
  •  Tresspassing (including through open passages like doors or windows)
  • Comitting crimes or intending to committ crimes once inside the structure inlcuding theft/larceny, vandalism, etc.

So how is burglary different from robbery?

There is a difference between robbery and burglary. Usually, robbery is considered more of a violent crime than burglary. In most cases, out of fear of being caught, burglars break into or enter property or structures when no one is present, whereas robbery involves taking something by force directly from another indivdual. This is sometimes referred to as a stick up or hold up or just simply robbery. When a weapon is involved or used, it is referred to as armed robbery. 

For example, Dan enters Victor’s boathouse through an open window, intending to steal Victor’s boat. Finding the boat is gone, Dan returns home. Though he took nothing, Dan has committed burglary.


Where did the term ‘burglary’ come from?

Burglary, as known in criminal law terms, has existed for quite some time. It was developed out of common law. Most states have incorporated the concept of burglary in mostly the same way, into their penal codes. Under common law definition, burglaries take place in the home of others during the night. Obviously, this definition has been modified by states to meet stricter definition to inlcude businesses, vehicles and homes at any hour of the day or night. It is essentially a property crime and its development was intended to protect the interests of private property as well as to prevent violence (not theft). Because other laws already prosecute for theft, the law was devised to provide security of the home as well as a prevention to violence as the result of disovering an intruder in the home. 

How to protect against burglars entering your home

It is wise, and highly recommended, to install some sort of security system at your home to protect yourself and your property from intruders, who aim to burglarize and commit crimes on your property, steal from your or injured you in some way. There are a number of options available to you, including motion sensor technology, professional monitoring, cameras and other systems that can help protect the sanctity of your home or business. Security can also have benefits for homeowners insurance policies as well. If you need help with consulting call an expert at Protect America.