What’s A “Classic” Home Invasion?

Filed under: Background |

Here at Home Invasion News, we look at a lot of press releases, read a lot of websites, and view a lot of videos. We watch for and think about the trends and patterns we see in the material coming across our desks.

We’ve come to define classic home invasion as follows:

• Multiple perpetrators (two or more)
• Forced entry into the home
• Occupants at home at the time of the invasion (a situation possibly intended by the perpetrators to facilitate “finding” hidden cash, credit cards numbers, etc.)
• Use of weapons and physical intimidation
• Property theft
• Victims, primarily unknown to the perpetrators, who have been “scoped out” and selected for a particular reason (vulnerability, wealth, prescription drug possession).

We’re not in career law enforcement, nor are we attorneys or judges. Our knowledge and understanding is always changing, but we’ve noticed several discrete types of crimes that commonly fly under the “home invasion” media banner. Some of these crimes are — to our way of thinking — classic home invasions. In other cases — except for the fact that the crime occurred in a person’s home — the events have little in common with home invasion as we have come to define it.

Such differences in the nature of crimes in no way diminish the seriousness of the offense nor imply that victims are not harmed or adversely affected. However, because the words “home invasion” are so powerful and frightening, it’s our intention here at Home Invasion News to use the term narrowly.

Here are some of the “home invasion” trends that seem to be taking shape. Some are “classic home invasions;” others are not quite there. Do you agree?

1. Home Invasion of the Elderly or the Wealthy. These crimes often feature what we call “classic” home invasion tactics. Some – especially against the elderly – may not appear as “professional” as those against the wealthy (which may also involve serious physical injury or kidnapping) but the result for the victims is the same. At Home Invasion News we suspect that crimes of “aggravated robbery” http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Aggravated+robbery carried out within the victim’s home and preplanned may be spreading outward from the vulnerable and wealthy, to target the upper-middle or middle-classes. As far as we can tell, current crime statistics say that’s not so. Nevertheless, until 2011 statistics are in, we believe the jury is out. Stay tuned…

2. Home Invasion for Prescription Drugs. Very often during a classic home invasion (particularly of the elderly), media reports and law enforcement say prescription drugs were stolen. We suspect that legal drugs are, increasingly, the motive for home invasion, particularly in less affluent areas.

3. Home Invasion to Steal Property. The term “home invasion” seems to be popular with (sensationalized by?) the media. Sometimes when a house is broken into and property is stolen, the TV news folks or local newspapers reports call it a “home invasion,” even when (thankfully) nobody was home when it happened. We’re not suggesting this isn’t a vile crime. We’re just saying it’s not what we consider a classic “home invasion.”

4. Home Invasion for Vendetta. In talking about these crimes, the media often reports: “Police say these victims were targeted.” Sometimes verbiage like this will be added: “The general population is not considered to be in danger.” Most of the time it appears these are drug-related crimes. Somebody stole drugs, or is stashing drugs, or didn’t pay for drugs, or is dealing in somebody else’s territory. When criminals steal illegal items from other criminals is it home invasion?
The media and even law enforcement may use this term, but by our definition here, home invasion for vendetta is not “classic.”

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