Residential Burglary

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    In the United Kingdom and the United States and in several other countries in the Western world, residential burglary (also known as burglary dwelling or domestic burglary) is not a separate offense in law, but is part of the general offense of burglary. The details of the law vary from country to country, but typically include the elements of entering a building as a trespasser and the intent to commit certain kinds of crime therein. The most common types of offenses mentioned are theft, damage, arson, assault, and rape. The main variations in law concern the type of building deemed to be residential (e.g., whether it includes mobile homes or garden sheds), the method of entry (e.g., forced or unforced), and the types of offenses committed (e.g., property crimes or crimes against the person). In most countries, burglary is treated as a serious offense and the culprits can receive substantial prison sentences. In some countries, such as the United States, residential burglars can, under certain circumstances, receive a life sentence. Residential burglary as a topic has been studied by lawyers, sociologists, criminologists, geographers, and psychologists, to name but a few. The main research interests are the motives of burglars, what is stolen or damaged, the methods of selecting targets, the location of the offense, the impact of burglaries on victims, and what can be done to prevent the offense. The study of residential burglary has contributed substantially to the broader study of crime mapping, crime hot-spot analysis, repeat victimization, offender decision making, and deterrence theory and research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationOxford Bibliographies Online
    Subtitle of host publicationCriminology
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Oct 2010


    • burglary
    • residential


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