The Difference Between Theft, Burglaries And Robberies Explained

When you are discussing security measures with friends and neighbors, you probably use the terms thieves, robbers, and burglars, but did you know that there is a definite difference between them, particularly relating to sentencing?



Robberies happen when someone uses physical violence or fear to commit theft or attempting to steal something. For instance, a robber holding a gun to an individual, demanding they hand over their cash, jewelry, or wallet. This kind of crime is classified as a violent crime, mainly when a victim is in attendance, and there is an act of violence or a threat

Examples Of A Robbery Include The Following Conditions:

  • Someone successfully or fails to steal a wallet or purse.
  • A victim is physically present and a target of a crime.
  • Violence or force is used, for instance, grabbing a victim, shoving, threatening the victim with any weapon, threatening the victim with physical harm against them or their loved ones (even if there are no weapon present) and forcefully grabbing something from a person’s hands.

In Individual States, The Following Instances Are Sub-Classified As Robberies:

  • Home invasion – when the robbery occurs inside an occupied home.
  • Mugging – Attempting or stealing an item from someone on the street or a public place.
  • Carjacking – Not the same as auto theft. Carjacking refers to a robber forcibly taking a car from someone.
  • Armed robbery – a robbery that is carried out with a deadly weapon.



This term refers to a burglar who is entering a building illegally with the intent on committing a crime (felony or theft). Many people take preventative safety measures to deter a burglar from entering their homes i.e., burglar bars, smart home security systems, alarm systems, motion sensors, etc.

A burglar may devise a plan to gain entry to a structure to steal valuables or even plan to kidnap someone. Either way, the action of illegally entering an apartment or home is referred to as burglary. This also relates to an individual entering an unlocked home with the intent to commit the crime.

The FBI Sub Classify The Following Actions As Burglary:

  • Forceful entry.
  • Attempted forceful entry.
  • Unlawful entry when no force is used.



Theft entails taking something from a person without their consent. For instance, when your neighbors had a break-in and the thief stole their belongings. Robbery is a type of theft, but burglary is not. Theft and burglary may seem like two interchangeable words, but this is not the case. They are classified as separate crimes. In the case where a house is burglarized, it doesn’t necessarilysuggest that anything was stolen. It just refers to someone entering a home unlawfully with the intent of committing a crime.

How Can You Protect Your Home From Being Burglarized Or Robbers?

Robbers and burglars alike like to target easy victims. It’s not that challenging to keep your home safe from robbers or burglars. By implementing simple security, procedures like reinforcing windows and doors or keeping the lights on, can deter criminals from selecting your home. Other security measures like home security systems, keypad door locks, cameras, etc. are also useful in keeping your home protected and deterring criminals.

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