Difference Between Robbery and Burglary

How is Robbery any different than Burglary?

Robbery is defined as: A person is guilty of robbery if he robs. While completing his attempt, he attacks the person trying to defend themselves.

It may include the robbery of a vehicle, business, shop, or even street mugging. Robbery poses a violent threat to individuals, which is why it is treated with more remorse than any other form of theft.

On the contrary, a burglary is committed when the suspect either:

  • Enters into the building as a trespasser to steal, cause harm, damage property; or,
  • Enter as a trespasser to steal, attempt to harm, or inflict

Distinctive Elements that Define Robbery and Burglary

Every state copes with theft differently, and there are a few distinctive elements between our two terms that help to define the difference well:

  • Robbery involves stealing something, whereas a burglar is someone who barges into a building with an explosive weapon
  • A robbery usually occurs in the absence of people, while a burglary is often committed in the presence of people, mostly in large buildings
  • Both of these crimes occur against one’s will
  • There are high risks of somebody getting injured in both cases

Robbery vs. Burglary: The Key Difference

One ordinary share: both are theft, and the critical difference between the two terms is: a robbery is committed in the presence of a victim. Burglaries, on the other hand, are done without the presence of the victim.

That is the primary difference between burglaries and robberies.

Are there any other related terms to Robbery and Burglary?

Yes, there are a few terms that involve both robberies and burglaries. Here they are:


Extortion is a dangerous crime in which the suspect forces the victim to do something against their will. Extortion is often related to burglary because it poses a threat to the victim’s life or property.

·Property Destruction

Property destruction can include either robberies or burglaries. Here, the property is not the only prey, but actions or arson and vandalism can also create hype.


This form is very much similar to burglary. Somehow, it does not involve an illegal entry into a building. Larceny includes the burglary of a vehicle. It does not matter whether the windows or doors were locked; vehicle crimes are categorized as larceny.

The Importance of Learning the Difference Between Robbery and Burglary

There are many different ways to identify the differences between these two crimes. Still, the public uses these terms interchangeably, which often creates confusion. 

Hence, you must understand the differences between these terms so you can describe a break-in accurately.

Any term that relates to theft may sound similar, but robbery and burglary have different legal jargon. The criminal law is complicated, especially when it comes to stealing crimes. 

To learn the difference, you have to define the meaning of theft. Theft is any crime where the victim seals property without the owner’s consent. So, how can you identify a theft crime as a burglary?

As we’ve mentioned countless times above, a burglary occurs when the victim enters a building without permission to commit a crime. However, this does not mean that the burglar breaks into the property, as force is unnecessary to commit burglary.

The victim can even walk through an open door; you may not even know how he got in. Even if the burglar does not destroy property or steals anything, he will still be charged because he intended to steal.

What differentiates robbery is the use of force or threat. Robbery is not restricted to one person; a group can execute it. During the theft, encountering the suspect is not necessary, but burglaries usually occur when both the suspect and victim are present.

In case of robbery, the victim snatches the property directly from the suspect – which is far dangerous than what happens in burglaries.

The Best Example

The best example that’ll fade your doubts about these two terms is a bank robbery.

When a victim threatens an innocent bystander trying to use the ATM, that’s robbery. On the flip side, breaking into a bank under the absence of workers or public is called burglary.

To conclude, the fundamental distinction between robbery and burglary involves force, breaking into a structure, and threatening.

A Clear-cut Difference between Robbery & Burglary

Includes the stealing of a property using intimidation or forceEntering into a building with arms to commit a crime
It involves a lot of violence, only to stealInvolves entering into a building without consent with criminal intentions
It takes place in the presence of victimsIt takes place in the absence of victims
The most dangerous form of crime, where there are high risks of getting hurtA less violent crime

To Sum Up

Now, it must be easy for you to determine whether an act of theft is a robbery or burglary.

Without a doubt, today’s criminals are smarter than ever, but that doesn’t mean you cannot outsmart them. An excellent way to keep you and your loved ones safe from these unpleasant circumstances is to install proper security systems in your place of living.

Even if it’s a large enterprise, no criminal will ever think to step foot if he sees all the high-end security features you have for your building. CWP

Robbery (Community Watch Paper blog)

Burglary (Community Watch Paper blog)

Definition of Crime (Community Watch Paper blog)


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