There are certain crimes that get confused in people’s minds, either because they are similar to one another or they often occur together. For example, someone who commits battery often also commits an assault, so people often use one term when they are actually talking about the other.

Similarly, people use the terms burglary and robbery interchangeably. As a matter of fact, however, they mean something entirely different. The confusion stems from the fact that each may involve the theft of someone else’s property.

Robbery versus burglary

According to Reader’s Digest, robbery involves a confrontation between two people in which one either takes the other’s property by force or threatens violence against the other unless he or she gives up personal possessions. Robbery always involves an element of theft, i.e., obtaining or trying to obtain another’s property unlawfully.

Burglary involves breaking into a home, business or other structure with the intention of committing a crime. Many times, the intended crime is theft, but it does not have to be. The intent could be to commit vandalism or a violent offense, and the act of breaking and entering would still count as burglary.

Another significant difference between robbery and burglary is that the former is a violent crime in the eyes of the law, while the latter is a property crime.

Assault versus battery

According to National Paralegal College, these are both violent crimes that often occur together, but they are not the same thing. Battery is unlawful physical contact that is offensive or harmful to another person and applied without his or her consent. Assault, on the other hand, is an attempt or a threat to commit battery. If one person uses words and actions to threaten another with force or unwanted contact, that is assault. However, if the person does not follow through with the threat, no battery has taken place.

A person does not have to cause harm to another to commit assault. However, battery cases often must involve an injury or offense to the other person.