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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Is not reporting a crime a de facto enabling of the criminal to do future crimes?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26783points) December 2nd, 2012

Be it big or small if you know of a crime that has been committed and fail to report it, is that not a de facto support of the criminal to do more or continue committing the crime? I.E. if you know someone is abusing a senior citizen or a mentally challenged person but say nothing are you indirectly enabling the person to still commit the crime of abuse against the senior or mentally challenged person? If you were sexually assaulted but said nothing are you indirectly enabling the perp to attack someone else, because his/her criminal or bad deed will not be known for anyone to prevent it from happening in the future? It will be as if they will be so remorseful that they will stop and never commit another criminal act, OK, maybe one in a Blue Moon will stop,

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9 Answers

Aethelwine's avatar

The criminals are the only people who are guilty of their crimes. The victims do not need another reason to feel victimized.

livelaughlove21's avatar

If you know a felony has been committed, it’s your duty to report it or (if possible) stop it from occurring. If you do not, that is referred to as compounding a felony, and is a crime in itself.

No, reporting a crime won’t necessarily make the criminal remorseful, but that’s not the goal of the criminal justice system. Reporting them will allow for justice to be served (hopefully) and for that person to be punished for their crime (potentially).

Seeing an elderly or mentally ill/handicapped person be abused and not reporting it is horrible and, yes, it is enabling them to continue that abuse. Why would someone allow this to happen without reporting it? If you ask me, that’s nearly as bad as actually committing the abuse.

The sexual assault is a more sensitive issue if you are the victim of that assault. Yes, reporting it is what you SHOULD do, and doing so may prevent the sexual battery of others, but there are many reasons people do not report this crime. Whether it be embarrassment, feelings of guilt, denial, etc, it’s a process that the victim must go through.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Weird, I was looking over some GAs I just got on this question you asked long before, but where it was you thinking rape victims enable rapists. Is this a more sanitized version of this? I remember being pretty livid about your ideas. In general, as an answer to this question, victims not reporting a crime is what criminals thrive on but it’s only a small part of the issue and, again, you need to turn the blame on the criminal and on the additional societal barriers that make them succeed, of which silencing victims is one huge part.

zenvelo's avatar

You are posing two separate questions: Should one report a crime that one knows of, and should a victim report a crime? The first is an obligation and as @livelaughlove21 points out compounds a felony.

But the second is not since there is the real fear of being victimized again. A victim can;t be responsible for the commission of another crime.

And, witnesses to some crimes may also be fearful for their own safety, and therefor not held to be complicit.

Unbroken's avatar

There is an unproven untested flaw in your argument. As livelaughlove21 pointed out being convicted or just merely charged with a crime does not make a person “feel” guilt.

But I will go farther and say it doesn’t even stop or deter some criminals. I have a friend who reported rape she had just turned 16 the guy she was seeing was 18 he raped her. She did say no. But the severeness of the act left the seat of his jeep covered in blood and she ended up in hospital and had to get stitches. This was her first time.
Her family reported it. She ended up getting shamed by them for “leading” this guy on. The police handed the matter or to the military police who issued him an article 14 or chapter, the situation happened when I was 15 so the exact name fails. Some sort of write up basically, that he was out of line. And she got a restraining order. Now did this guy feel guilt or did he feel empowered? Is he more likely to refrain from this behavoir in the future?
Even if he went to jail, yes he would be temporarily out of the public and now has a record, isn’t he as likely to learn more about how to get away with future crimes? Being immersed in a criminal environment is not likely to soften or heal him. So he hangs out with criminals they talk they read law books share info and learn from their experience.
So yes it is better to report a crime. But also understandable not to.
I reported a dv once. Seven months of humilaition, questions, interuption to my job my life my mental health, he was out of jail 3 months later.
I am glad I did it, it was the first time I have reported a crime because I have had so little reason to have faith in the system. But I more then understand not doing it, as so little actually comes of it.

FutureMemory's avatar

“If you were sexually assaulted but said nothing are you indirectly enabling the perp to attack someone else because no one know his/her dead to prevent it from happening again?” (Bold emphasis mine)


Because no one know his/her dead?


wundayatta's avatar

I think the victim needs to do what is best for them, and not worry about the effect on society. Sometimes that may mean not reporting the crime, even if that leaves the criminal free to commit more crime. The victim’s first responsibility is to themselves, not to society.

I guess that shows I’m really an American. In Japan, presumably, it would be the other way around, except that the duty to society may also mean not creating trouble, which reporting a crime might do.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Follow up One, it is the responsibility of the person who did the criminal act to take ownership of the fact they did it. Even if it was made easy for them, I.E. someone walking from the ATM late at night with a fist full of dollars not playing attention to who is around him/her. If a person doesn’t report or it is not their societal duty to report a crime for fear of embarrassment or personal harm, where is the “low bar” on that? What is the lowest crime should one not let harm or embarrassment silence their tongue? For example, if I know a person is stealing bikes on campus, even if they stole mine, but because I fear that person or his/her cronies will retaliate, is it permissible or expected I keep silent knowing they will keep stealing bikes and put the onus on the owners of the bikes to be smarter than the thief? What if they move up from bikes, (having stolen many and never been taken to task for it), move up to vehicles figuring it would fetch a larger profit, and they always gotten away with stealing bikes. Would that be severe enough to speak? What if they went from stealing bikes to stealing dogs, that would raise it high enough to report?

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