Burglary is the unlawful entry of a structure with intent to commit a felony or theft not necessarily accompanied by force to gain entry as defined by The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). Common law defines it as the commission of break-in and entry during night time or “between sunset and sunrise”. Burglary committed in buildings, structures, or attachments suitable for dwelling is residential burglary. According to routine activity theory, three elements characterize the crime of burglary. They are “(1) the presence of likely or motivated offenders, (2) the presence of suitable targets, and (3) an absence of guardians to prevent the crime” .
Classification of burglary
UCR has subclassified burglary as “forcible entry, unlawful entry without use of force and attempted forcible entry”. .
Elements of burglary
Burglary involves the elements of 1. breaking in, 2 entry, 3 a dwelling unit, 4 owned or occupied by another, and 5. intention to commit a crime inside the dwelling unit.
Physical evidence at the scene of crime and collection, documentation and preservation of evidence
The evidence of a burglary should be recorded by means of the cast or replica as they are mostly found on nonportable objects. Cast and replica are the necessary procedures when the objects cannot be transported to the laboratory for analysis. Foot prints, tire tracks, and tool marks which are tracing clues found on nonportable objects are generally collected as evidences. Shoe and tire impressions are first photographed by the investigating officer. Shoe impressions can be found both at the indoor and outdoor scenes. The indoor ones are recorded just as a latent fingerprint is recorded. As the shoe impression is a dustlike trace, it must be lifted by an adhesive material from its original surface. Rubber lifters available in contrasting colors are great value in recording and lifting this type of evidence. Electrostatic dust print lifter is also employed. Plaster of Paris or the modern silicone rubber is used for taking cast. Paint is also applied to the surface for tracing the evidence. Paint as an evidence can be found on the tips of tools left at the scene of a crime. The paint at the end of the tool should be wrapped up in a plastic cover and sealed. Paint found on stationary objects such as wall or safe, should be removed for analysis. The paint from the stationary object should be scrapped into an envelope with a clean knife. Glass evidence can also serve as valuable evidence since different types of information can be gathered from glass analysis. Direction of force can be determined as the suspect breaks a window to enter a structure, force is exerted from one point to another. The investigator can determine of the force was from outside or inside of the structure which will become the basic information to detect a false burglary. Radial fracturelines and soil are also equally important evidences of burglary scene .
Comparison of the two stated burglaries
Residential Burglary 1: It is of the type of burglary with no forced entry. The way the office and bedroom have been ransacked suggests that an amateur burglar may have been involved. They are more dangerous than professional burglars as when confronted they may even murder the victim in order to escape. The absence of latent fingerprints and the missing money from the safe in the office and jewelry from the bedroom suggest possibility of involvement of professional burglars as well.
Residential Burglary 2: It is the burglary with forced entry type since the window is broken. The kitchen and adjacent room from where money in cookie jar is missing suggest that amateur burglar may have been involved given the fact that a latent fingerprint is found on the outside of the broken window.
It is possible that both have been committed by amateur burglars because of ransacking of the office and master bedroom in the first example and presence of latent fingerprint in the second example.
It is also unlikely to have been committed by the same suspect since an element of professionalism is found in the first example of burglary.
FBI.GOV. (2010). Crime in the United States . Retrieved May 18, 2014, from The Federal Bureasu of Investigation : http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/property-crime/burglarymain
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