I’ve noticed that the phrase “home invasion” seems to turn up more and more in news reports. I did a search of some Missouri newspapers looking for the term “home invasion,” and–sure enough–“home invasion” seems to have arrived in Missouri. Before the year 2000, it was seldom used in Missouri news reports, referring mostly to crimes in other states. But now, Missouri “home invasions” are on the radio, TV and newspapers every day.
The media is in love with the term “home invasion.” It’s hot. It’s scary. The word “invasion” is always terrifying. I’m thinking viruses, or Nazis; or maybe even Martians.
Combining “invasion” with “home” is a natural. Somebody probably has a copyright on it. Law enforcement loves to use the phrase. When I was a prosecutor, I had police tell me that if I wouldn’t file a burglary charge, then “at least I could file it as a home invasion.”
From all the publicity, one might guess that the crime of home invasion was on the rise. Or perhaps the legislature has recently created a crime called “home invasion.” One could not be faulted for thinking that Missouri had a crime called “Home Invasion.” But one would be wrong.
In some states they have one crime called “Breaking and entering,” which refers to non-dwelling structures. Then they’ll have a second crime called “Home invasion,” which refers to breaking into dwellings. In Missouri, both of these crimes are covered by the crime of burglary.
The 2008 legislative session will soon be upon us and maybe we should consider punching up our old criminal code and drag it into the 21st century. “Home invasion” is splashy and sexy. “Burglary” sounds like something your parents would have done (or had done to them). So maybe this is the year Missouri gets home invasion onto the books.
And since I’m making a Christmas list, I’d like to put in a good word for the revival of Representative Jeff Roorda’s 2006 & 2007 legislation that would have made “Motorcycle Stunt Driving” a crime. You can read about it in this post.
Maybe I’m too old, but I think it would be pretty neat to get one on my driving record.