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?