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Burglary vs. Robbery: What You Need to Know

Protection From Home Invasions

Burglary vs. Robbery: What You Need to Know

Burglary vs. Robbery: What’s the difference?

Posted: December 06, 2019

What is the difference between burglary and robbery? While both are associated with the theft of items, these two crimes differ in how they are executed. Burglary is committed when a person unlawfully enters a structure in order to steal something from the property or commit a felony. Robbery, on the other hand, involves the use of force or fear by the perpetrator in order to take something from a victim. 

Because a robbery involves the presence of a perpetrator and a victim, it is classified as a violent crime. In contrast, burglary is categorized as a property crime.


No person wants to find themselves at the receiving end of a burglary or robbery (and we hope you never do!), but arming yourself with the right information can help you safely avoid becoming a victim

home invasion. Difference between burglary and robbery


Burglary definition

In order for a burglary to take place, someone needs to enter a “structure” with intent to steal. A structure is any building or occupied structure. 

This can include:

  • Houses

  • Apartments

  • House trailer

  • Barns

  • Stables

  • Office space

  • Houseboats used as a permanent residence

  • Ships

  • Railroad cars

If the space being used as a residence or as business space, any unlawful entry is considered to be a burglary by law enforcement. When it comes to the crime of burglary, there are three types, as defined by the FBI. These include:

  • Forcible entry: This occurs when a person enters a part of the structure or otherwise uses forceful measures to get inside with intent to commit theft. This might involve breaking and entering a lock or window to get inside.

  • Unlawful entry where no force is used: Entering a building or property that does not belong to you with the intent to commit a crime of theft or other felony also falls under the category of burglary. Even if a dwelling is unlocked or entry is gained without damage to the structure, a crime is being committed.

  • Attempted forcible entry: This happens when an intruder makes efforts to break in by damaging structural elements, even if they are unsuccessful in gaining entry.

Robbery definition 

In contrast to burglary, robbery involves the use of force by a perpetrator in the attempts to remove something from a victim. For example, if a person is at home when an attempted break in occurs and items are taken from the home with the victim in fear of physical harm, a burglary becomes a robbery.

Robberies can also occur outside of structures or residential areas. Stopping someone at gunpoint on the street and forcing that person to relinquish their wallet is an example of robbery.

Burglar break-in


Burglary vs. Robbery Stats

It’s natural to want to protect your family and home from crimes. We want to help you make that happen! In this case, the more you know, the better. Check out these statistics to see what kind of burglary and robbery crimes frequently take place. 

Burglary statistics

The the FBI’s UCR (Uniform Crime Report) offered these statistics regarding burglaries for 2018.

  • There were approximately 1,230,149 burglaries.

  • 66.5% of those involved residences.

  • Burglaries accounted for $3.4 billion in property loss, with the average loss of $2,799.

  • Burglaries consisted of 17.1% of all property crime.

  • Sorted by type, 

    • 56.7% of burglaries involved forced entry

    • 36.7% were determined to be unlawful entry

    • 6.6% were considered to be attempted forced entry

Robbery statistics

The same FBI report gathered this data regarding 2018 robberies.

  • There were approximately 282,061 robberies.

  • Robberies accounted for $598 million in losses. The highest average loss for residences was $4,600 per robbery.

Police responding to a robbery


What You Need to Know if You are the Victim of a Burglary or Robbery

Burglaries and robberies are traumatic events. It’s important that you know which steps to take in the aftermath.

  1. Call the police immediately. If you have been victimized, it’s important that you contact local authorities immediately to help ensure you are no longer in danger.

  2. Don’t touch or move anything that might be considered evidence. This could impede an investigation. 

  3. Write down any helpful information, including perpetrator details or suspicious activity. Making note of these details soon after the crime could be helpful for recounting information in the future.

  4. Take note of damaged property and missing items. The authorities and insurance companies will both request a list of damage to accurately report the crime and process claims.

  5. Review and save any camera footage in a secure place. Camera footage is helpful for verifying a crime and helping police identify perpetrators. 

  6. After the authorities have been notified, contact your insurance company to begin your claim.

Protect Your Home installed home security can help prevent burglaries

Home Security System Features that Help Keep You Safe

Burglaries and robberies are unpleasant experiences. We understand the hardship that accompanies any traumatic experience. 

That’s why we make it our mission to help keep bad things from happening to good people. To accomplish that, our home security systems offer an abundance of features to help keep you and your family safe. 

How home security systems help thwart burglaries and robberies

We want to help keep families safe. Our security systems offer targeted features to help prevent you from being victimized

  • High-decibel alarms: In the event of a burglary, crash sensors will be triggered and a high-decibel alarm will ring, alerting anyone near that a break in is in progress.

  • Smart locks: Smart locks can be fastened from anywhere with an Internet connection. If you forget to lock your door on your way out, it’s easy to remedy with the attached app.

  • Surveillance cameras: Cameras are an important part of your home security system. They can capture footage and offer proof of a crime. If you receive an alert of a phone call that an alarm has been triggered, your surveillance cameras can confirm that a burglary is taking place in real time and the police can be dispatched. Camera footage can also be helpful for identifying perpetrators and handling insurance claims.

  • Monitoring: All ADT home security systems are monitored. This means that a representative will call to confirm what is taking place when an alarm goes off. If you are away or otherwise engaged, ADT can dispatch emergency services for you to help keep your home protected.

  • ADT Pulse: The ADT Pulse app gives you fine-tuned control of your home and live streaming of surveillance cameras. The app also allows you to manage security features when you aren’t at home.

  • Garage door sensors: Burglaries can occur on any structure, including a detached garage. Garage door sensors provide an extra level of security, alerting you when your garage door is breached.

  • Home security panel: This panel stores all of your access codes. It is programmed with a “hostage” code. When entered, emergency services will immediately be contacted without sounding the high-decibel alarm. This can help keep you safe in the event of an armed robbery in your home.

  • ADT Wireless Keychain Remote: Should you notice anyone suspicious, the wireless remote can come in handy for locking your doors quickly from anywhere within a certain distance.

Ultimately, your safety is of the utmost importance. Take the necessary precautions to protect your family today.

Contact us to see how we can help you avoid becoming the victim of a break in.

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