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While burglaries are crimes in which a home, car, or office was broken into, robberies are the seizing of property of another through intimidation or violence. The precise legal definition of robbery varies between jurisdictions, but generally some degree of force or intimidation differentiates robbery from theft, embezzlement or larceny. Types of robbery include:
- Armed robbery — involves the use of a weapon
- Aggravated robbery — involves the use of a deadly weapon or something that appears to be one
- Mugging or "highway robbery" — takes place outside or in a public place
- Carjacking — stealing a car by force or intimidation
- Piracy — robbery at sea
The U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that there were nearly 400,000 robberies, and another nearly 200,000 attempted robberies in the U.S. in 2005. Most robberies occur in places such as dark streets, parking lots, subways, or empty buildings, where fewer potential witnesses are likely to be around.
Victims of robberies can be traumatized since they are usually at least threatened with violence if they do not cooperate. Unfortunately, many victims are physically harmed as well. A few tips to prevent becoming a victim include:
- Avoid walking in dark, vacant areas, especially unaccompanied.
- Do not hesitate requesting a police escort, even if you cannot find someone to walk with you to your car.
- Avoid wearing jewelry that is or appears expensive. Carry at most two credit cards and have the telephone numbers of the credit card companies available so that you can immediately close your credit card accounts.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Check the back seat of your car prior to getting in.
- Cooperate and hand over your belongings.
- Take a self-defense course to learn how to react in case you are physically attacked (the use of pepper spray is controversial).
- After you are robbed, call 911 immediately. Relay to the operator/dispatcher as many details as you can recall, including the robber's appearance, voice, clothing, and the direction in which the robber fled.
After getting any needed medical attention and providing an account of the incident to the police, it is advisable to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney who can appraise you on your rights. After a robber is apprehended, there may be civil recourses you can pursue. You may be able to obtain compensation for physical and emotional injuries you may have suffered in addition to recovering any property you may have lost.
Contact us today to find an experienced robbery lawyer near you.