Most forms of theft are property crimes that carry noteworthy penalties. However, robbery, especially armed robbery, can carry more significant consequences than other forms of theft, in part because of the violence inherent in robbery that is typically not present in other theft-related crimes.

Most people and courts classify robbery as a violent crime, even if there is no weapon involved and no one suffered any physical injuries during the robbery. What makes robbery so different from other forms of theft, like burglary or shoplifting?

Robbery involves a thief interacting with their victim directly

With many common forms of theft, the person stealing does everything in their power to avoid detection or interacting with the owner of the money or assets they target. Burglars target homes when no one is there and try to get in and out without anyone finding out what happened. Shoplifters also try to fly under the radar and make it out of the store without anyone noticing that they did something unusual.

Robbery is different because it directly involves the victim personally and potentially puts them in harm’s way. The person robbing someone else will use either physical violence, weapons or threats to intimidate someone else into giving them money or other possessions. As such, the victim faces not only the threat of physical violence but also the emotional trauma that stems from such a violent interaction.

It is that fear and the potential for physical harm that makes robbery is a violent crime, especially when compared with forms of theft that don’t directly involve the victim. Accusations of robbery can have life-altering consequences, especially if someone doesn’t defend themselves against them.