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In the United States and many other English speaking countries (though not Britain), a home invasion is an illegal and usually forceful entry to an occupied, private dwelling with intent to commit a violent crime against the occupants, such as robbery, assault, rape, murder, or kidnapping.
In some jurisdictions, there is a defined crime of home invasion; in others, there is no crime defined as home invasion, but events that accompany the invasion are charged as crimes. Where home invasion is defined, the definition and punishments vary by jurisdiction. It is not a legally defined federal offense throughout the United States, but is in several states, such as Michigan,Connecticut,Illinois, Florida,Louisiana, and in Las Vegas, Nevada. Home invasion laws also have been introduced in the South Carolina General Assembly and in the State of Maryland. On March 15, 2011, a bill making home invasion deaths a capital crime in New Hampshire passed the New Hampshire House without debate. Home invasion as such is not defined as a crime in most countries other than the US.
Home invasion differs from burglary in that its perpetrators have a violent intent apart from the unlawful entry itself, specific or general, much the same way as aggravated robbery—personally taking from someone by force—is differentiated from mere larceny (theft alone). As the term becomes more frequently used, particularly by the media, "home invasion" is evolving to identify a particular class of crime that involves multiple perpetrators (two or more); forced entry into a home; occupants who are home at the time of the invasion; use of weapons and physical intimidation; and property theft.
Few statistics are available on the crime of home invasion as such, because it is not defined as a crime in its own right in most jurisdictions. Statistics about home invasion found on the Internet are often false or misleading. Persons arrested for what the police or media may refer to as "home invasion" are actually charged with crimes such as robbery, kidnapping, homicide, rape, or assault.
The first published use of the term "home invasion" recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary is an article in The Washington Post on 1 February 1912, with an article in the Los Angeles Times on 18 March 1925 clearly indicating the modern meaning.
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