Theft, robbery, burglary – they may all seem like synonyms, but, in the language of crime & security, the connotation of each one is different. This article seeks to differentiate and simplify the concepts of burglary, so that victims can give a proper description to the police, thus making it easier for them to catch the criminal.

Our newspapers scream out sensational headlines like “Shop looted while owners slept”, “Thieves steal high-value items while owner was distracted” or “Day-light robbery at a shop when owner out for lunch-break”. Though these words are used to catch the eye of the reader, it often sends a confused message to the people as to what exactly happened at the scene of the crime. 

It is essential to understand the subtle nuances of this type of crime so as to be able to read the news correctly. Clearer understanding also helps victims to narrate the situation correctly to give a precise and detailed statement to the police. This in turn, helps the police to investigate the matter according to the exact methodology used in committing the offence. 

Exaggerated and vague accounts by the victims often leads the police to chase leads and clues which were irrelevant to the crime and stop at dead-ends. The more time is spent on following this information which lengthens the time of investigation and subsequent recovery of goods, the more distance is created between the offender and the police which make the chances of solving these types of crime very slim.

Every citizen should be able to differentiate between this type of crime which makes it easier for him to take steps to prevent it as well as if such event occurs extend accurate information to the police thus assisting them to catch the culprits and recover the goods at the earliest. 

Therefore, given below are the simplistic terms in which one can understand the true nature of burglary which is in line with the laws of our land.

Burglary simply means unlawful entry by an individual or a group into a property without the consent of the owner with an intention of committing a crime. It is also called breaking or entering or housebreaking. Breaking in this context aims at compromising a part of the property which secures it from outside illegal entry. Entering means physically entering the property or using an instrument which allows the offender to remove any object from the premises of the property. Property in this case is widely defined and is not limited to a home only.

Burglary is known as a ‘specific intent’ crime in which the offender knowingly enters the premises with the specific intention of illegally removing a possession of the owner without his knowledge or in his absence.

Broadly speaking burglary can be categorised into the following:

Completed Burglary: Simply put, it means that a stranger who had no right to be in your owned property, gained access naturally or forcibly and took away material possessions which were valuable to the owner of the property. 

Forcible Entry: When an offender used a certain degree of force to neutralise a part of a property in order to gain secret entry without the knowledge of the property owner. Force can range from minimal to maximum and if the criminal remains within the property to commit his offence after the owners have vacated their property can also be termed as forcible entry.

Unlawful Entry Without Force: When an offender finds illegal entry into the premises of an owner of the property by virtue of a window of opportunity presenting itself due to the certain flaws in the physical structure of the abode or in the owner’s behaviour and daily routine. This could be as simple as an unlocked window or an open door which is unnoticed or neglected by the home-owner.

Attempted Forcible Entry: In this type of an offence the offender has tried ways and means to gain entry into the property of the legal owner but has failed in his attempt to gain entry thereby giving up the whole process of committing the crime altogether. In this type of a crime there will be clear as well as hidden signs of damage to the owner’s property which identify that a crime was attempted but failed in its execution.

The connotation of this crime has been contorted and twisted due to its many interpretations in the media, entertainment and the public domain. FORTIFY sees it as an adversary trying to get a particular asset and thereby helps the owner of the asset take particular actions which deter, deny, detect and disrupt an adversary’s intentions. In the coming series of blogs, we will simplify the crime and its effects and will help the asset-holder in fortifying himself and his material possessions from such actions.

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