Burglary vs Theft: Difference and Comparison

Criminal law defines a crime. It addresses the offensive behaviours that happen in society and punishes the individual who commits them. The criminal court prosecutes the crimes.

If anyone tries to break the laws there, he has to face the consequences. Two such crimes are- Burglary and Theft. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Burglary involves illegally entering a building intending to commit a crime, while theft is taking someone else’s property without permission.
  2. Burglary can occur in residential and commercial properties, while theft can occur in various settings.
  3. Legal penalties for burglary are more severe than theft, as burglary is considered a more invasive crime.

Burglary vs Theft

Burglary is an unlawful act involving breaking into a building, or a private property, intending to steal or do something harmful. Theft is the act of taking or confiscating someone else’s property without their consent, with the intent to permanently deprive them of that property. It results in penalties.

Burglary vs Theft

Entering unlawfully into someone’s property to commit a crime is known as burglary. It involves trespassing and peeping through the window also.

It includes someone’s house or office or any other property that belongs to them. Whether the crime happens during the day or night, it is a crime under the law. 

The act of taking away or stealing the items or property of a person is known as theft.

The law will consider it a crime if the intention of the person committing it is dishonest and the goods are movable. In the law, theft comes under section 378, and punishment is there for the same. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBurglaryTheft
DefinitionIt is a crime in which a burglar enters or trespasses on someone’s property unlawfully. It is a crime in which someone steals your goods without your permission.
IntentIt happens with specific intent. Usually, there is no intent.
TypeEntering, peeping, or trespassing in someone’s house or assaulting them.Taking away someone’s property.
InsuranceA person may get a claim on the damages to property or belongings.The person will get a claim on the goods that he loses.
PunishmentSix months or more than this. It depends on the degree of theft.

What is Burglary?

Burglary is a crime under criminal law in which someone enters a property to commit a crime. Burglars prey on flats and houses as they are opportunistic thieves.

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They do not leave any opportunity, whether it is an open door or window.

 While entering, they will grab the first thing they see. Burglars do not just steal your items, and they can even assault you or kidnap your child. It all depends on their motive.

Burglars look for those houses that have a good amount of valuables in them. They observe for a few days and then break in. 

  1. According to the studies, a burglary happens once every 20 seconds. People mention this crime more often, yet only a few families have security systems in their homes. 
  2. Burglary happens during the day. Burglars do their work in the bright light instead of hiding in the darkness. The most common time when this crime happens is between 12-3 pm. 
  3. This type of crime happens more in summer. There is a rise in burglaries with the temperature rise. They rise to 10-20%. 
  4. You may see more burglaries in rural states than in metropolitan cities. The burglars go for renters and not homeowners. 

What is Theft?

Theft is the act of physically removing goods or personal items without the owner’s permission. There are several ingredients to it- 

  • The intention of the person is dishonest. If he has taken it permanently, it also plays a crucial role in this type of crime. 
  • The property or the item is movable. The ones that are not sticking to the earth are known as movable properties under section 22. 
  • The property is taken away without the consent of the owner. If the owner gives authority, then it is not theft. 
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There are three different degrees of theft- First degree or Class B felony, Second degree and third-degree theft. Petty theft is another name for third-degree theft.

  1. First-degree theft or Class B felony – In this, a person may receive high theft charges if he steals directly from someone. If the value of the stolen goods is $5000 or above, it comes under this category. The thief can get ten years of imprisonment and must pay a fine of $20,000. 
  2. Second-degree theft – It is known as a Class C felony. Under this, the goods shall have a value between $750 and $5000, and the punishment is five years of imprisonment. 
  3. Third-degree theft – In this, the goods should have a value of less than $750. 

Main Differences Between Burglary and Theft 

  • In a burglary, a person peeps, trespasses, or enters someone’s property to perform a crime. On the other hand, in theft, a person takes away someone’s belongings without letting them know. 
  • Burglary involves assault, kidnapping, and stealing. Theft involves- stealing someone’s property or personal belongings. 
  • The criminal court sees burglary as a severe crime, and the punishment is there for the same. But theft is not such a big crime; they release the person if he pays for the property. 
  • The HPP covers burglary damage but not theft because it is not easy to administer.
  • The punishment for burglary is six months or more. On the other hand, punishment for theft depends on the degree of theft. 
Difference Between Burglary and Theft
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=moG3AwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=burglary&ots=Bj3t7bWkED&sig=WO-LHfSHV_1NtzDjWY8ctbiNMO4
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=aS-ge9vi-R8C&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=theft&ots=TtvHwR3mOa&sig=docKpP8v8Ni8uE9Ygi0iWwO_n-E

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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