Are burglary, larceny and robbery the same thing?

Burglaries, larcenies and robberies are all types of theft or personal property crimes, but they do not describe the same crime.

To some Texas residents, theft is theft. However, calling burglary, larceny and robbery the same crime is not necessarily accurate. While they may all be forms of theft, the three property crimes have distinct differences. Not only are they different, but according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, they have drastically different occurrence rates because there were 148,073 burglaries, 33,250 robberies and 548,941 larcenies over the course of a single year across the state.

Burglary

A burglary takes place when a person enters a building or habitation that was not open to the public with the intention of committing a theft or another felony. Even if a person hides in the closet of a business until said company is closed, it may still be considered a burglary if the person emerges from the closet to steal or commit a felony after business hours. Typically, a person has to use force to enter a building when committing a burglary, but no one else has to be present at the time of the crime. This type of crime can range from a first to third degree felony depending on what the targeted object is, what type of building was broken into and what other crimes were committed.

Larceny

When referring to theft, larceny is often tied to stealing from a vehicle. A person may break into a locked car or open an unlocked car without permission to steal another person's belongings. It can also refer to any theft done when illegally entering a building is not needed. For example, if a person is in a public space and steals a candy bar from a vendor, it may be considered a form of larceny because he or she took something without breaking into a habitation.

Robbery

A robbery takes place when a person tries to take something directly from another person. In other words, a robbery can happen even if the person does not have to illegally enter a home, but even when a crime is committed after illegally entering a space, it could still be a robbery. If a person is out on the street taking someone's purse by using a weapon as a threat, it would likely fall into the robbery category. Robbery requires the presence of a victim.

In Texas, all crimes having to do with taking someone else's belongings may fall into the greater category of theft, but they can also be broken down and described as either a burglary, robbery or larceny. If a person is accused of any of these property crimes, it may be beneficial to work with an attorney who is familiar with this type of criminal law case.