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Violent Crime Hits Home: Home Invasion Robbery

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 64 Issue: 6 Dated: (June 1995) Pages: 9-13
J T Hurley
Date Published
5 pages
Home invasion robbery (HIR) is on the rise, and the criminal justice system has not adequately distinguished this crime from burglary.
Confusion over differences between HIR and burglary often compromises statistical analysis and makes historical data collection nearly impossible because many HIR incidents are routinely misclassified as burglaries. While home invaders commit the secondary offense of burglary, investigators and courts should recognize the unique criminal profile that clearly distinguishes home invaders from burglars. In most cases, residential burglars attempt to avoid confronting victims. They tend to probe carefully and make covert entry at the side or rear of a residence. Burglars generally prefer to work alone, and most target unoccupied dwellings. Most burglary incidents do not result in violence, even when the burglar is discovered. In contrast, confrontation is generally the key element in HIR. Home invaders prefer to make direct entry into a targeted residence and carry items that connote control and confrontation, such as firearms, handcuffs, and masks. Home invaders usually target the resident, not the residence, and they do not have to overcome residential alarm systems because most systems are not activated when the residence is occupied. The growth of HIR in South Florida is discussed, and contributing factors are noted. Ways of addressing the HIR problem are identified, including public education and legislation. 1 endnote