Sonitrol Security

Sonitrol Commercial Security Blog ... by Joe Wilson



The Difference Between Break & Enter, Robbery and Theft

Posted by Joe Wilson

Oct 4, 2022 10:39:16 AM

Break in theft and robbery

There are many different crimes committed against businesses on a regular and on-going basis, which make a robust security solution so critical. Three of the most common crimes are robbery, burglary and theft.  

While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are some distinctive differences between the three. In this blog, we take a look at what these different terms mean, and how to protect your business from them. 


Theft is when someone takes property that belongs to someone else. The moment someone moves property with the intent to steal it, it is theft. 

Shoplifting is an example of theft as someone is purposefully removing an object from your business without paying for it. Technically the theft occurs as soon as the person takes the object with the intent to steal it, though most people wait for the person to leave the store so that the accusation is more concrete. 

25 Misconceptions about commercial security systems eBook

Theft is not always of physical objects. Misappropriating funds or stealing services can also be theft. 

In Canada, there are two levels of theft. 

  1. Theft Under $5,000 – If the total value of stolen items is under $5,000, it can be an indictable offence punishable with up to two years of imprisonment or a summary offence punishable with up to six months in prison and/or a $2,000 fine. 
  2. Theft Over $5,000 – If the value is over $5,000, it is punishable with up to 10 years in jail. 



Robbery is a crime where a culprit steals property from another person using violence, force or threats. Usually, the goods are stolen directly from the victim, like in a street mugging, but that is not always the case. 

As a business owner, if someone came into your establishment brandishing a knife and threatening to hurt you so that you empty the till, this would be a robbery. 


Burglary is no longer used in Canada’s Criminal Code. Instead, burglary is now a break & enter (B&E) offence with the intent to steal property. If someone commits a B&E and steals property from your business, they could be charged with a B&E as well as theft, possession of stolen property, mischief or more. 

While these three terms are used in place of one another, they are very different crimes. The two things they have in common are stealing or the intent to steal, as well as the fact that verified security can help reduce these crimes and associated losses. 

How verified security can help against theft, robbery and burglary 

Verified security is monitored by professionals at a central monitoring station. When a security alarm is triggered, the security professionals verify the alarm. If there’s a crime in progress, they call authorities to dispatch police. Because the alarm is verified, officers respond fast. In fact, police respond to Sonitrol alarms in 3.5 minutes vs 45+ minutes for conventional alarms. 

This means that criminals have less time to damage property or escape with goods and apprehension rates are dramatically increased. 

For more information on how Sonitrol Security can protect your business from theft, robbery or burglary, contact us today.

Free Security Audit

Free Security Plan


Joe Wilson, Owner of Sonitrol Western Canada

We provide our customers with the best commercial security solutions and quality service backed by our unique Guarantee and Commitment to Service. It's something unverified conventional alarm companies simply cannot guarantee!

Subscribe to Sonitrol Blog Updates

Posts by Topic

see all

Recent Posts

Why Sonitrol?

 Sonitrol Catches Criminals




Here's Why ...

Download this Free Guide -

25 Misconceptions About Conventional Alarm Systems

Download Free Guide!