We’ve been ROBBED!!!

No. You haven’t.

To some of you, this is gonna sound like MC is splitting hairs again. Well, tough. This is going to be one of those pet peeve themed posts. I suppose I could blame TV shows, Hollywood, the Media, Popular Culture and/or any combination of them. The point is when you pull into your driveway and discover your front door has been kicked in and your jewelry gone (seriously, ladies…stopping hiding it in the dresser! They know it’s there!) you assume you have been robbed. In fact, you have not. Your home has been burglarized.
I’ll get to the by-the-book definitions in a minute, but I want to add a disclaimer here. I realize you have been victimized. I know it’s scary. The sense of having someone in your home uninvited and while you were away can be traumatizing. Nothing of what follows is meant in any way to minimize your perfectly legitimate feelings about the incident you’ve been forced into.
That being said…
PC 211 reads, “Robbery is the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.”
Only a person can be the victim of robbery. A structure (be it a home or business) can not be robbed. For the sake of illustration, consider this:
A strong arm robbery (force) could be illustrated by a suspect forcibly ripping a woman’s purse from her person. Fear could come into play if someone points a gun at the same woman and says, “Give me your purse”. Both are equally felonious. The key is that robbery requires a human victim.
PC 459 reads in part (trust me it’s longer than I want to type out), “Every person who enters any house, room, apartment, shop, warehouse, store, mill, barn, stable, outhouse or other building, tent, or vessel with intent to commit grand or petit larceny or any felony is guilty of burglary.”
Outhouse?!? Note to self…don’t leave valuable shit in the outhouse. See what I did there? Outhouse. Shit. C’mon people…that’s comedy friggin’ gold!
Seriously though, you’re more than welcome to check out the entire section for PC 459 here. Given what I’ve written above, it should be painfully obvious that humanity is not the key to this particular crime…structures are.
Now I realize that most of society’s knee jerk reaction after being burglarized is to exclaim, “I’ve been robbed!” I know my silly little post isn’t going to change the world. On the other hand, it nuts me up a little every time I hear someone claim they were robbed when, in fact, they were not.
More importantly, if you were to call your local PD and yell out, “I’ve been robbed!”, you will almost certainly get a different kind of response. Calling in a robbery elicits imagery of guns and threats of violence. PD response for that is vastly different than in the one where you forgot to lock your front door when you left for work and now you’re back 10 hours later and dammit if you can’t find your 60″ HDTV.
At the end of the day, I guess it boils down to being hammered for months at the Academy, additionally in FTO, and well, every damn day of my career, to know the Penal Code like the back of my hand. Consequently, I have my own knee jerk reactions. At least I’m aware of mine, right?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

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14 thoughts on “We’ve been ROBBED!!!

  1. I don't think you are the only one with this pet peeve. The TAC staff at my academy asked us what the elements of 459 and 211 were ad nauseum. I seem to recall one of the recruits early on mixing them up. It did not go well for anyone that day. Forward leaning rest position, move!

  2. Heh. I hear you. I'm a computer tech, and it drives me batty when people use 'internet' and 'network' interchangeably. Yes, they have similar functions and overlap, but they are not the same. Really not the same. I suspect every profession has terms like that.

  3. Now, imagine how those of us who actually know which end of the pipe the bullet flies out of feel when the media calls any scary-looking rifle owned by a civilian an "assault rifle"

  4. That's a pet peeve of Indubitably too. And now that I know the difference, it also annoys me. People continue to say it even when you correct them. I guess they just have the childhood game of Cops and Robbers stuck in their heads.

  5. yes, but it's so much less dignified to scream "I've been Burgled!" into the phone. It just brings up visons of the Hamburgeler pelting them with cheeseburgers. (maybe its just me…)

  6. This is one of my pet peeves, too, and I'm not even in law enforcement! I had the unfortunately childhood experience of coming home to a burglarized house, and even in the midst of her dismay, my mom (the grammar police!) taught my sister and me the difference between being burglarized and being robbed. Now I'm one of those smug people who corrects others on the proper usage.

  7. What is an assault rifle? I've seen this come up on your message board several times, and now I'm curious.

  8. "The point is when you pull into your driveway and discover your front door has been kicked in and your jewelry gone … you assume you have been robbed."

    Nope. I ASSume my husband has once again gone to work leaving the back door wide open. Sigh. It's happened so many times, I can't count. Luckily, poverty keeps burglars away!

    BTW, I'm with that Crazy Shaw Family. "I've been burgled!" just doesn't cut it.

  9. THANK YOU. As the call-taker who hears this and then passes it on to you lovely folk to deal with in person, seriously, THANK YOU.

    If you start screaming, I assume that means the jackass is in there RIGHT NOW. Officers really don't like it when I send screaming code to their house because you chose to split grammatical hairs.

    On a whole other subject, (and having been a victim of both home and vehicle burglary myself), I don't think this is a reason to dial 911. Look up the non-emergency number. Unless of course the jackass is still in your house.

  10. Oh GOD! I KNOW!
    How many times I had to explain that is immeasurable. 459 v 211. But truly, they are upset and want to see an officer. At my PD, for the most part, a 459 is taken by the desk. No officer need respond. That really ticks people off. But what's a cop gonna do? Show up? Ask the same questions I had to ask?

  11. MC-
    I did not realize there was a difference. Thank you for the info, I will tuck this piece of knowledge away for future use. I really enjoy reading your blog, thanks for all of the informative and entertaining posts!
    ~wvmedicgirl

  12. I think we all have our little knee-jerk reactions (wlthough this one is more logical than most, as it has practical repercussions)

    On of my pet hates is where people (or the lawyers of people) who have been accused of some crime or other wrong-doing say that they "refute" the allegation. No. Unless you have provided compelling evidence, you haven't refuted the allegation, you've denied it.

    I particularly hate it when I see or read lawyers doing this, as they should know better!

    People using "disinterested" when they mean "uninterested" gets my back up, too…

  13. When I hear 'I've been robbed!!' screamed into the phone.. I raise my voice slightly and ask very fast 'What type of weapons? Gun, knife or did he hit you?'

    They get this puzzled sound to their voice and say 'I don't know. I just got home and my stuff is missing from my house!'

    Now I know what type of questions to ask!! Seriously – Thank you for the post!!! We share a pet peeve in common!
    -Dispatcher

  14. I love taking these calls <—–SARCASIM….But, I can't fault the caller, it is what they see on TV that gives them the idea of what to say! OH, by the way……………I AM BACK (for certain peoples viewing pleasure!) MC….hit me up on Email so I can add ya! Been awhile!