Robbery

Robbery is the crime of attempting to take or taking anything of value by putting the victim in fear, or by force or threat of force. Robbery, according to common law, is taking someone else’s property by means of fear or force, with the intent to deprive the person of that property permanently. In other words, robbery is a theft or larceny accomplished by an assault. Accurate definitions of robbery may vary from one jurisdiction to another.

Robbery is differentiated from the other common forms of theft such as car theft, burglary and shoplifting by its naturally violent nature. Therefore, robbery is a violent crime. Unlike other forms of theft which are usually punished as demeanors, robbery is usually a felony especially in jurisdictions that distinguish between felony and misdemeanor. For instance, under English Law, robbery is a crime that triable only on indictment, whereas most forms of theft such as shoplifting, burglary and car theft are triable either way.

robbery

In contrast to theft, robbery is an act taking of property that naturally involves person-to-person interaction with intimidation, force, and or coercion. On the other hand, burglary, in contrast to robbery and theft, is the entering of a residence or building with the intention to commit any felonious crime such as theft.

Robbery Statistics
All over the world, the general public generally thinks and believes that robbery is a crime committed gas stations, banks, and at convenience stores, the reality is no doubt surprising. According to the statistics, robbery takes place more frequently on the streets than any other locations. In other words, the acts of robbery are more common in the streets that in the banks, gas stations, and in convenience stores. Besides, robbery is not as common as the general public usually think. Actually, the money lost to robbery is far much less as compared to what is lost to other forms of theft.

Here are other interesting statistics about robbery:

Only 2.1 percent of robberies are committed in banks, and fewer than 10% are committed at gas stations or convenience stores.

Most robberies all over the world occur during the hours of darkness. Precisely, most robberies occur between 8.00pm and 3.00pm. The number of robberies reported is usually higher during winter months as compared to other seasons. This is due to the extended hours of darkness during winter months.

More than 65% of robbery perpetrators are below the age of 25, and about 90% of robbery perpetrators are male. This is due to the fact that force is usually applied during robbery and young male persons have the strength and bravery to commit the crime. Robbery is committed by people of all races.

About 447,000 robberies are usually reported in the United States every year. On average, this is about one incident of robbery per minute.

The months of October and August see the highest number of robberies. A knife is used in over 8.6% of robberies, firearms are used in more than 40% of robberies, and kicking, punching, and other many forms of strong-arm tactics are usually used in about 40% of robberies.

In the United States of America, the Southern States report the highest number of robberies per year. Precisely, about 38.3% of all the reported cases of robberies in U.S. happen in the Southern States.

More than $500 million are lost every year due to robberies in the United States. While small cities see an average of 16 to 62 robberies per 100,000 people, large cities see about 173 robberies per 100,000 people.

While police departments in rural areas solve about 40% robberies each year, police departments in large areas usually solve only approximately 20% to 25% of robberies every year.

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Definition of robbery
As mentioned earlier, robbery, just like theft, involves taking property or money without permission. Actually, it involves taking the property directly from the victim. But, the crime of robbery also entails the threat of force or the use of force. This is one main thing that differentiates the crime of robbery from the crime of theft. Here are the typical elements of robbery:

Someone taking property or money with the intent to permanently keep the property

Someone taking property or money without the consent of the property’s owner

Someone taking property or money by the use of intimidation or force

Concerning the presence of victim, the victim must be present for a crime to be classified under the crime of robbery. This is unlike with the case of theft where the victim might be absent when the crime is committed.

From the very definition of robbery, the victim must be present since the property is taken directly from the victim by the use of intimidation or force. For instance, suppose three men armed with pistols enter a banking hall, demand money from the bank teller, and run away with the cash, the crime is actually a robbery. Because the three men had intent to steal, went ahead and used the threat of force, and also took away the money directly from a person, the three men have actually committed robbery.

Since theft and robbery are considered different types of crimes, the penalties are also different. Theft or “larceny” can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on how much money has been stolen, or on the value of the property that has been stolen. A theft may be a misdemeanor if the value of the stolen property is less than a certain amount that qualifies it to be a felony.

Since robbery involves the use of force, it is typically considered a more serious crime as compared to theft. In more often than not, a robbery is a felony. If a weapon was used, a conviction can actually result in significant prison time. Robbery can be punishable by up to more than 20 years in prison, capital punishment, or life imprisonment.
Is robbery considered a violent crime?

Violent crimes may include a wide variety of offenses. Depending on the jurisdiction, acts that may be considered violent crimes include robbery, murder, rape, homicide, assault, harassment, extortion, kidnapping or abduction, endangerment, negligence, sexual assault, and manslaughter. Different countries across the world also have different systems of reporting and recording crimes. Apart from the fact that robbery in itself is often listen among violent crimes among all jurisdictions and countries, it also involves other crimes, such as harassment, and sometimes sexual assault and even murder, which are all considered as violent crimes as well. So, robbery is actually a violent crime.

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Types of robbery
There are two main factors that differentiate robbery from theft. The first factor is the use of force or threat of violence when taking or attempting to take someone else’s property or money. The second factor is the presence of the victim. For a crime to be classified as robbery, the crime must happen in the presence of the victim.

robbery

While all robberies involve the use of force or threaten of force with the intent of taking away personal property or money, not all robberies are the same. Therefore, there exist different types of robberies and robbery charges.

Aggravated robbery and armed robbery: Armed robbery is a more severe type of robbery that takes place when the perpetrator uses violence while committing the crime while possessing a dangerous weapon. Armed robbery is called “aggravated robbery” in some jurisdictions. However, the two crimes are typically similar and the same.

A dangerous weapon used when committing robbery is defined as a weapon that can cause death or serious physical injury. This doesn’t mean that the weapon has to be a knife or a firearm. It can actually be any item that has the potential to cause death or serious bodily injury, such as vehicle, baseball bat, or tire iron.

Even if the item or weapon considered to be dangerous is not used by the perpetrator during the crime, simply being in a possession of it with himself during the crime can result in a charge of aggravated or armed robbery.

Armed robbery or aggravated robbery cases usually result in a more cruel punishment. In fact, the defendant may usually be subject to extra charges such as possession of a deadly weapon or possession of a firearm.

Robbery cases may usually consist of a range of different acts from the use of weapons to use of verbal threats. Because there are so many factors that may be involved during robbery, the crime is usually divided into different degrees. Each degree holds a distinct level of seriousness. Usually, first degree robbery is considered the most severe.

First Degree Robbery happens when the perpetrator causes injury to the victim or to another person when committing the crime. Also considered as first degree robbery is whereby the perpetrator possesses a deadly weapon, or uses a weapon to threaten the victim.

Second Degree Robbery happens when the perpetrator injures another person other than the victim, or if the offender commits the crime an accomplice present. In most cases, Carjacking is usually considered second-degree robbery.

Third Degree Robbery happens when the perpetrator uses a weapon or physical force to steal someone else’s property or money.

What is an example of robbery?
Of course, the precise definition of robbery varies from country to country or from state to state, but it can simply be summarized as the act of taking someone else’s property or money by force or by threat of force. Here is an example of robbery;

A criminal holds a victim at a gun point and demands the wallet of the victim. Whether the criminal succeeds in taking the victim’s wallet or not, the crime is robbery. This is a crime of robbery because the perpetrator has used intimidation and threat of force to steal or attempt to steal someone else’s property.

Another example is whereby four armed men walk into the bank, point their guns at the teller and the customers, and demand to be given money. Since there is confrontation and threats while committing the crime, the offense is actually robbery.

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Definition of theft
The crime of theft, sometimes known as “larceny”, is a broad term that may cover a number of criminal offenses. For example, stealing a car, stealing a motor cycle and shoplifting are all forms of theft. Here are its typical elements:

A person taking someone else’s personal property or money without permission

A person carrying the stolen property or money away

A person intending to permanently keep the stolen property

Concerning the presence of the victim, the victim of theft need not be present. A person can commit the crime of theft even by taking away unattended property. In such a case, the victim is neither present nor away of what is happening. For instance, stealing a parked motor vehicle and taking cash left on a restaurant drawer are cases of theft.

There are many other forms of theft that do not entail taking of someone else’s personal property or money. The crime can also entail the stealing of services. For example, based on the relevant law, the crime can occur when someone uses but doesn’t pay for:

Electricity, cable, or cellphone services

Public transportation

Restaurant or hotel accommodation

It is also important to note that many states in the US and federal government as well as many other countries across the world have passed laws particularly criminalizing identity theft. So, identity theft has been classified as another form of theft.
Embezzlement and fraud are also other common types of theft.

What is the difference between robbery and theft?
The crimes of robbery and theft both entails someone else’s property or money without permission. They may also involve taking money or property that belongs to an organization, company or government agency without permission.

Robbery and theft (also sometimes referred to as larceny) are common terms used to refer to taking personal property or money without permission. However, the two terms don’t actually mean the same thing. The crimes of robbery and theft can be confused easily since both of them entails taking someone else’s property or money without permission. However, while robbery and theft share some characteristics, the crimes are quite different.

The main difference between theft and robbery is that the crime of robbery entails the use of intimidation or force to take property or money from another person. In most cases, what makes robbery a more serious offense is the use of force or violence.

robbery

Is pickpocketing theft or robbery?
Pickpocketing often involves taking or attempting to take someone else’s property or money from their pocket without them knowing what is going on. Even though the victim is present, the crime is committed without their knowledge. Therefore, there is usually no use of force or threat of force when committing the crime. Therefore, pickpocketing is theft not robbery.

What type of crime is considered bank robbery?
Bank robbery is defined simply as stealing money or other valuable assets from a bank, specifically when the bank employees, bank customers, and bystanders are subjected to violence or force, or are threatened with violence. This specifically refers to robbery of a bank teller or branch, as opposed to other assets owned by the bank, such as armored car, a stagecoach, or a train.

Bank robbery is different from bank burglary in that bank burglary is defined as stealing money, or other valuable assets from a bank branch when it not opened, or when there are no bank employees, customers, and bystanders subjected to the violence or control of the perpetrator.

According to statistics, bank robberies are largely unsuccessful crimes as most of it usually fail. In fact, bank robbers made away with an average of a mere $7,500 in 2010 in the United States of America according to the reports by the FBI.

So is robbery a crime against person or property?
The general public tends to think of robbery as a crime against property simply because taking someone else’s property is typically the criminal goal. However, robbery is basically a crime against a person, and not property. Actually, as a practical issue, robbery is better thought of as nothing less than a violent crime against a person.

So, what make robbery a primary crime against a person and not property? Well, when committing a crime of robbery, the perpetrator seizes the victim, either with the threat of force or either the actual force, stopping the victim from fleeing the scene. Taking a way the freedom of movement from the victim wrongfully is actually an offense against that person. While doing so, the perpetrator is also implicitly or expressly threatening the life of the victim, which is again an offense against that particular person.

Next, the perpetrator usually compels the victim to actually do something against their will, such as reach into her or his pocket and give up his or her valuables. Even though the primary goal of the robber is to take the property away from the victim, this is also in itself a crime against the victim’s person, as the robber compels the victim by threat of death or injury to complete an action that he or she does not actually wish to complete.

In most cases, the perpetrator will also often search the victim’s person for any additional valuables. The touching of the victim in search of other valuables is also a crime against their person. Often the perpetrator will commit other crimes of opportunity, like sexual assault or rape, after robbing the victim of their property. Whenever the robbery is complete, perpetrators will often commit further offenses against the victim. For instance, they may hit the victim hard on the eyes to disorient him or her from while they escape.

Sometimes, the perpetrator will force the victim to remove their shoes or clothing in an effort to prevent the victim from quickly seeking help or pursuing them. Other times, the perpetrator will order their victim to run towards a certain direction to prevent him or her from pursuing them or seeking help quickly. In summation, a robbery definitely involves taking or attempting to take someone else’s property. However, the taking of property is usually out shined by the offenses the perpetrator commits against the victim’s person.
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By John Young

Sources: Bureau of Justice, Uniform Crime Reporting

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