Saturday, February 14, 2009

I've been robbed!?!

The majority of people can't differentiate 100 % between the meaning of burglary and robbery. Alot of people think they've been the victim of a robbery when in fact, they've been the victim of a burglary. Before I continue on with my story let me explain the definitions.

Burglary- the act of breaking and entering an inhabited structure (as a house) esp. at night with intent to commit a felony (as murder or larceny); also : the act of entering or remaining unlawfully (as after closing to the public) in a building with intent to commit a crime (as a felony) NOTE:The crime of burglary was originally defined under the common law to protect people, since there were other laws (as those defining larceny and trespass) that protected property. State laws have broadened the common-law crime. Entering at night is often no longer required and may be considered an aggravating factor. The building may be something other than a dwelling, such as a store or pharmacy. Some states have included vehicles under their burglary statute. There are degrees of burglary, and some of the usual aggravating factors are the presence of people and use of a deadly weapon.

Robbery- the unlawful taking away of personal property from a person by violence or by threat of violence that causes fear : larceny from the person or immediate presence of another by violence or threat of violence and with intent to steal NOTE: aggravated robbery: robbery committed with aggravating factors (as use of a weapon, infliction of bodily injury, or use of an accomplice) armed robbery: robbery committed by a person armed with a dangerous or deadly weapon simple robbery: robbery that does not involve any aggravating factors

(Definitions found here.)

Clear as mud, right? I'll try to explain. Burglary means to stay inside a dwelling or to enter a dwelling illegally with intent to commit a crime. (Dwelling could mean vehicle as well.) Robbery means to take something from a person or to take personal property by force or threat of force. Ex: You return home to find your door open and your electronics missing. You have been the victim of a burglary. You are in your house when someone enters with a gun aimed at you and takes your electronics. You have been the victim of a robbery. Becoming more clear?

I have answered alot of calls that have gone like this:

"Me: 911, what is the address of your emergency?
Caller: address given.
Me: Ok, tell me what's the problem there?
Caller: I've been robbed!!!
Me: You've been robbed? Explain to me what happened.
Caller: I came home and found my house was broken into sometime over the weekend."

Now as we've all learned, this is not in fact a robbery. This is a burglary, and still something that needs to be investigated, but not with the urgency of a robbery. I answer alot of calls that start with "I've been robbed" that end up being a burglary.

On to the rest of my story. I was at work one night and answered a call that went like this:

"Me: 911, what is the address of your emergency?
Caller: address given.
Me: Ok, tell me what's the problem there?
Caller: I've been robbed!!!
Me: You've been robbed? Explain to me what happened.
Caller: These guys came in and pepper sprayed me and then beat me up and took all my money!"

That my friends, is a robbery! A very legitimate robbery! It was handled very well and very quickly. We had officers to the location within probably less than a minute of the call being received. The victim was such a good caller. Even though he had been pepper sprayed he was still able to give me the information I needed to give to the officers. (I don't know how many of you have been pepper sprayed, but it's not easy to do anything when it's still in your face and in the few minutes following!) We got help to the victim and descriptions out to patrolling officers in such a quick manner. We don't have robbery's often, but when we do they are definitely handled the way they should be.

And yes, there is a point to all of this. Moral of the story is: When someone calls in saying "I've been robbed", it just might be true!

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