BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Cracking down on violent home invasions. In recent months, Marylanders have been hurt, and even killed, by robbers breaking into their homes. Now the state is toughening up with a new law.

Meghan McCorkell has reaction.

The new law provides harsher penalties for those convicted of home invasions.

A Salisbury man was gunned down inside his own home by armed intruders last month. Three people were shot–one fatally–in a home invasion in Brooklyn in March.

“He come running out, screaming for help and running over, banging onto my neighbor’s door,” a witness said.

Back in October, 87-year-old Oliver Daff was attacked when masked thieves ransacked his Glen Burnie home.

“They started beating me up, as you can see on my face,” Daff said.

“He couldn’t stop crying, him and his friend who were victims of this,” said Lt. T.J. Smith, Anne Arundel County Police. “Because of these… people… these criminals who came in his house and assaulted him.”

Now those criminals will face more jail time. A new law that just passed in Maryland legally differentiates home invasions from burglaries.

“When you say burglary, people think of property crimes. They think of unoccupied homes,” said John McCarthy, Montgomery County State’s Attorney.

But proponents say home invasions are much more vicious. The new law increases the penalty for a home invasion to up to 25 years behind bars.

Smith hopes the new law is a deterrent for brazen criminals.

“This is a law that gives it more teeth now,” he said. “And it makes people probably feel a little bit more comfortable to know that somebody that broke into their home is not just being charged with burglary and robbery.”

The maximum sentence for burglary is 20 years in prison.

The new law will take effect in October.

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