What is the Difference between Burglary & Aggravated Burglary?


Both serious and unlawful criminal activities are worthy of being punished accordingly, there are nonetheless significant differences between burglary and aggravated burglary. So, if you’re wanting to unpack the differences between the two, just read on to learn more.

What is burglary?

Burglary is an illegal, outlawed criminal act that involves a person unlawfully breaking, entering and trespassing onto a property with the intention to steal or commit a felony.

For example, the criminal’s intent may be to break into a property to steal a television, computer, or another valuable item from within. The property in question may be a residential home, a corporate office, or even an industrial warehouse. Regardless, burglary of any property is punishable by law, and the punishment is severe. In Victoria, Australia, a burglar can be convicted with an imprisonment sentence of up to as many as 5 – 14 years.

Importantly, there are 3 elements to consider when accusing a criminal of an act of burglary.

These include

  1. Breaking and Entering into a Building
  2. Trespassing into an Area They Are Not Authorised to Enter
  3. Intention to Steal Property

Needless to say, each of these elements is punishable accordingly. If charged with standard burglary, the criminal in question could face up to 5 years of incarceration in an Australian prison. This sentence can be increased to up to 14 years in some states, dependent on the severity of the act – particularly if the burglary is considered an aggravated burglary.

What is aggravated burglary?

While any burglary is a serious offence, aggravated burglary in particular is considered especially heinous. Importantly, aggravated burglary involved the criminal being in possession of a firearm, or having the intent to harm a person inside the building they are breaking into.

Under Section 77 of The Crimes Act 1958, aggravated burglary is considered particularly serious, as it involves entering a property knowing that the occupants are inside, and capable of being harmed. The objective to cause harm or damage to property, content and persons inside is what makes a burglary become considered aggravated.

As such, aggravated burglary is punishable by a lengthy imprisonment term, or by posting bail up to the value of – in some cases – over $100,000! A hefty sum, and one best avoided by not engaging in this type of criminal act. Not to mention, the blur you will have on your criminal record, for years to come – which can, in some cases, prevent you from being able to enter certain countries.

What is the difference between the two?

Undoubtedly, the biggest difference between burglary and aggravated burglary is the safety of the victims involved. While a standard burglary will result in a loss of the victim’s valued possessions and belongings from their home, office or warehouse – when involved in an aggravated burglary, the victim’s life could be in danger. This is because the perpetrator of the crime is often armed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon, with the intention to harm another person. Needless to say, this calls for far more severe punishment than just breaking and entering (although, admittedly, this is still an unsavoury criminal act.)

Importantly, aggravated burglary involves an intention to assault and harm a person, the highest criminal act imaginable, as you are quite literally putting another human life in danger. This is, essentially, just as dangerous as a criminal whose intention is to harm a person even without the purpose of burgling them.

How to Avoid Any Type of Burglary – Aggravated or Not!

Number one: Secure your property! By installing secure locking systems, video camera surveillance systems, and alarm systems throughout your home, office or warehouse – your safety and security are more guaranteed than without the inclusion of these amenities.

Further, ensure that you are in regular contact with your neighbours, as they will provide you with information about any instances of burglary or aggravated burglary in the area. Joining community programs such as Neighbourhood Watch can also be of great help to stay informed, as well as educated on the best ways to stay safe in your area.

Also, staying educated on police reports in the area can help you stay safe, and being alert and aware of any other instances and occurrences can help you prevent burglary, or aggravated burglary, from happening again – to you, your loved ones, and members of your neighbourhood community. By staying vigilant, and informing and educating yourself and others, you can help to keep your community as safe as possible.

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