Burglary is currently one of the most popular crimes in the world. You most likely know someone who has been a victim of burglary or at least someone who has a friend in this situation. It can happen anytime and anywhere and for a plethora of reasons. Most burglars do not even plan their crimes, so they simply go for the easiest targets hoping for the best.
If you are like most people, you probably imagine it is less likely to happen to you, but the reality is it happens everywhere. There are people on your street who have been attacked and robbed. You just do not know who they are. For such reasons, security is a top-notch necessity, whether you invest in better locks, sturdier doors or security cameras.
Burglary can be relatively harmless if no one is in. Thieves go in, raid a property and get away with whatever they can grab. However, the situation can become disastrous if someone is in. The victim can be attacked and harmed. There are situations when a simple burglary attempt can become a murder too – quite a frightening scenario.
Only in the USA, there was a burglary reported every 20 seconds – this means 4,320 burglaries a day. The number is thought to be higher, as some burglaries are never reported if nothing goes missing. Statistics are scary and the fact that thieves often go for the easiest target is an advantage – enhancing your property with all kinds of security measures can deter burglars.
Burglary is illegal in every country out there. Different states or countries have different regulations though. In the USA, burglary can come in more degrees. In every state out there, the first degree burglary is the most severe one. On the other hand, the second-degree burglary is one of the most popular crimes out there.
Understanding the concept of burglary
More common than most people can imagine, burglary is a crime with multiple interpretations. While each country or state has its own concept or definition, the law is interpreted in various ways. To help law enforcement officials, it has been classified by multiple criteria and it is broken down into a few degrees. These degrees are given according to the severity of the crime.
Some of the most common aspects associated with burglary include:
- The intention to cause arson
- The act of stalking someone on private premises
- The intention to steal private property
- The act of harming someone on private premises
It is important to know that windows or doors do not have to be broken for the burglary to take place. Instead, someone can go through an unlocked door and cause harm. At the same time, the owner does not even have to be home for the burglary to be committed.
Differences between burglary and robbery
Burglary and robbery crimes may seem relatively similar, as they involve stealing someone else’s property. However, they represent two completely different crimes. Each of them is defined in a unique way, while degrees, associations and penalties vary as well.
There is, however, one major difference between them. Burglary involves a burglar entering someone else’s premises in an illegal way in order to commit a crime once in there. On the other hand, a robbery involves a person taking something that belongs to someone else. The action is direct, meaning the victim is involved. The robber will take the valuable item using fear or force.
What is a burglary in the second degree?
Each state or country looks at burglary in the second degree in a different way. While many things are common and make common sense, it is imperative to become familiar with the local laws and regulations of your area, only to understand how your jurisdiction describes burglary.
Some of the most common variations include:
- Committing a crime without any type of violence, with or without the victim present during the burglary
- Entering a commercial property without an actual authorization
- Breaking into a structure of any kind – including sheds, cars, boats, barns, offices, houses and others – with the intention to commit the crime
- Entering a residential property without the authorization
- Having a weapon while unlawfully gaining entry to a property
No matter where you live, the first degree crime is the most severe one. The same rule applies in the burglary. It is a serious charge and it involves more factors. Most commonly, it is premeditated and will involve a more or less aggressive type of violence – weapons are often used as well.
The punishment for burglary in the second degree
When someone gets convicted for burglary in the second degree, they are normally sentenced based on the local laws and regulations. In most situations, the crime is referred to as a felony. There are, indeed, a few exceptions as well. The offender will probably end up in prison. In some cases, offenders must return the things they stole or pay harsh fines.
The sentence varies from one situation to another. Two burglaries are almost never identical – whether you think about the value of the stolen items or the use of a weapon. The jury will take more factors into consideration.
- How severe the crime was
- Offender’s criminal history
- How valuable the stolen property is
- Whether or not violence was used during the burglary
- Whether or not a weapon was used during the crime
Burglary can be extremely frightening, so most victims will require therapy and may live in shock for the rest of their lives. Their personal experience is also considered when the jury gives the sentence.
How to prevent burglaries
There are more ways to prevent burglaries. Before attempting a burglary, most criminals will scout the property for a while. They usually try to become familiar with the occupants’ habits, the number of occupants and so on. They look for valuables or things that may underline wealth, such as fancy cars or a nice looking house.
About 50% of all burglars give up if they notice good security systems. Alarm systems are extremely efficient, not to mention cameras, tall fences, iron doors and superior quality locks. As a general rule of thumb, most burglars will choose the easiest targets they can find. If five houses on a street have alarms or cameras and a sixth one does not, chances are they will look at the least protected property.
Just like you have probably guessed already, there are professional burglars out there who go for the golden egg and aim for big properties with lots of valuables. The good news is that most burglars are sneak thieves, so they try to reduce the risks of getting caught.
In the end, burglary in the second degree is more popular than you can think. The experience can be shocking for a victim and can turn into a more serious crime. No one wants to be in this situation and there are ways to reduce the chances to be involved. Investing in professional security might be the most efficient way to ensure most thieves and burglars will look away when they consider your property for a crime.