There are several differences between burglary and robbery. First, burglary occurs when an individual enters a structure in the absence of permission. In addition, that individual breaks and enters in order to commit another offense, such as theft. However, the proceeding offense does not have to be theft. There are many offenses that result from burglary.
Conversely, robbery involves theft of money or property through the threat or use of violence against a person. In the crime of robbery, the victim must be present. In the crime of burglary, it is not likely that the victim will ever be confronted by the perpetrator, unless the proceeding crime is assault, murder, or kidnapping.
In order to make the distinction between robbery and burglary, it is sometimes necessary to ascertain the perpetrator's intent. In the crime of robbery, the intent is to steal from a victim using violence or a specific threat of violence. Many times, the robber presents evidence of a weapon, which would be armed robbery. However, a weapon is not necessary in order to classify a crime as robbery. In most cases, a burglar does not intend violence, unless their proceeding crime includes the use of violence.
Many times, a robber first makes clear that their intent is to cause harm if the victim does not comply with their demands. Next, the robber will make clear what their demands are. For example, they may hold a gun to someone's head while making a demand for cash and jewelry. When the perpetrator utilizes a weapon, it is considered armed robbery.
However, a weapon is not necessary to make valid threats or instill fear in a victim. For example, a robber may state where the victim lives, as they view the victim’s driver’s license. By doing this, they are making sure that the victim complies with all demands. The perpetrator may tell the victim they they will be harmed if they report the crime to police. In general, robbers are able to subdue victims with a threat alone.
In contrast, burglars simply commit their crime, without usually seeing the victim. On occasion, burglars do run into their victims, but it is often by accident. The burglar’s intent usually determines if there will be victim contact. The most common proceeding crime for a burglar that has gained entry into a structure is theft. In that case, burglars will likely avoid contact with their victim. If, however, their intent is to commit a more serious proceeding crime, they may seek contact with the victim.
In general, burglars never come face to face with their victims. They simply enter a structure and commit their additional offense, which is usually theft, whereas robbers utilize force or the threat of violence to be sure that their victim meets their demands. In some cases, the perpetrator will have a weapon, and in others, they simply threaten violence. In either case, the victim is present during the crime and confronted with threats for non-compliance.