Setting up a booby trap for a person who breaks into your home, perhaps in part because of the popular Home Alone movie franchise, is something people often find enticing. After all, a burglar broke the law by entering your home in the first place. Don't you have the right to do anything you want to stop them?
You don't. Booby traps, no matter how often they show up in the movies, are illegal.
There are a few problems with them. One is that they can put those who have done nothing wrong in danger. It could be the mailman dropping off a package, a child who unexpectedly came home from school early or even a person who is lost and accidentally enters the wrong house. Having traps that seriously injure or even kill anyone who triggers them is simply too dangerous to the general public.
There's also the aspect of a punishment that doesn't fit the crime. If you're not home and someone robs your house, while they've certainly committed a crime, you weren't in danger. You weren't even there. If that person then died because of a booby trap, that's too drastic a result. While you have a right to protect yourself if you are home, that doesn't mean you can set up a trap to kill someone for trying to take your TV while you're at work.
Not all homeowners realize that they can't do whatever they want within the home. Were you injured by a trap someone set up illegally? You may be able to seek financial compensation for your medical bills.
Source: Survivopedia, "DOs and DON’Ts for Your Home Defense," Chris Black, accessed July 05, 2017