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    Thread: Respectfully reporting a crime

    1. #1
      Lurker iamzod's Avatar
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      Respectfully reporting a crime

      So I was just reading "The Production of Crime Rates" by Donald Black, and I was particularly intrigued by the statistics the author shares about the deference of complainants. In a passage, Black states that more respectful complainants/citizens were more likely to have their wishes for an official report fulfilled.

      Spoiler for Passage from the book:


      So I am wondering: Is this fair? Do you think policemen have a right to not report a crime because the complainant was rude? Does this make the complainant less victimized? At first this bothered me, until I remember that policemen simply cannot investigate every crime, and must be discretionary about which they do investigate, so I think now there is an argument for either side. What does everyone think?

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      Member Stormy Skies's Avatar
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      I don't think they have the right to not report it, but I think they have a right to be a bit more skeptical about the crime. They might take the person less seriously if their being rude. Of course this wouldn't apply to all types of crimes, if it was somthing like the complainant was being rude, but was reporting someone had been murdered/raped/assaulted, of course the police would respond anyway because the complainant is most likely distraught at what they discovered. But if it's something like, some kids refusing to stop hanging out outside of a convience store after the owner asked them several times to leave, then goes off to call the police, and rudely complains about these kids out of his store, and telling then police to drop everything just to get these kids away... ehhh... they probably wont respond to it, and think the guy was over-reacting.

      So does manners matter when reporting something to the police? To a degree, yes. If you want the crime to be looked at, then you should try to be complient and polite with the police.

    3. #3
      Xei
      UnitedKingdom Xei is offline
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      I was at a garden party over the weekend and a group of youngsters and their dad were getting more and more violent. We calmly called the police, who said they were treating it as an emergency... I think they turned up the next morning. Apparently paying taxes is some sort of charity scheme if you live out in the countryside.
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    4. #4
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      I believe cops have a duty to protect people who are under attack or in danger and needing help. It is what cops are there to do. Without such a rule, they might as well go get drunk in a bar and help out only when they feel like it. We have to have cops doing their jobs. Society can't function right without that.
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      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


    5. #5
      Lurker iamzod's Avatar
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      I think every possible crime needs to be taken seriously. It's not right to ignore something potentially dangerous just because the complainant didn't suit your fancy. I think the police should try to investigate each crime reported. If there isn't enough man power for that, than one can pay less attention to more petty offenses but the attitude of the complainant should have no weight in where time and money are being spent. Further, the police should know how to deal with someone difficult. If someone feels they have been wronged, it's more likely they could be on the defensive side. Demeanor should have no effect on response to a complaint, but if the complainant is rude my guess is that police have learned in the course of their career that rude complainants often exaggerate claims or do not have a serious enough claim to cause further investigation.

      But then again, it is up to the discretion and judgement of the officer to file a report or not, but if every officer were to file reports for nearly every complaint, how would they ever get all of that paperwork done?

    6. #6
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      Well, frankly if someone told me for example that it is my fucking duty to fucking do something because he pays taxes which pay for my salary, and thus I should treat him as my employer, and he deserved my respect, and I should not sit on my lazy bum and just eat donuts all day, but get busy, and those worthless kids who broke the store window were probably illegal immigrants because they spoke Spanish, but how was the complainant supposed to remember what they look like because Mexicans all look alike, and I should just go arrest them all ... Just trying to imagine myself in a police officer's role, and if I heard a complaint like that for example, I would be sorely tempted to not take complainant seriously, you know?
      Last edited by JoannaB; 08-31-2013 at 07:40 PM.
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    7. #7
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      That sounds like the irrational spewings of somebody who is freaking out and really pissed off, but probably a racist any way. I don't think it's sufficient evidence of a prank call. There was something that needed to be investigated.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


    8. #8
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      Oh, that example would not be a prank call. However, if complainant insulted the police officer and then did not provide enough evidence to investigate, I would not blame the police for not investigating something like that too carefully if they have lots of other work to do. The police are human too, and they do need evidence to find a suspect. If they did not get enough evidence from complainant, but only had the evidence of a broken window and the kids who broke it spoke Spanish, and guy whose window it was was rude to police, I would not blame them for not investigating that as hard because the rudeness combined with lack of sufficient evidence would I think legitimately put that call on a back burner compared to someone calling in and working with the police, doing their part as complainant in providing evidence.
      You may say I'm a dreamer.
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    9. #9
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      I don't think rudeness should even be a factor to consider. The cops should have investigated and tried to get the man to calm down and help them. They could make it clear that his cooperation is an important part of the investigation. I've seen cops handle things that way. I remember a cop in a grocery store parking lot saying, "Lady!!! Do you want us to help you??!!!" That got her to chill out immediately.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


    10. #10
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      Yeah it's unfair, but cops are human. Most probably don't even consciously realize they're favoring people who present themselves as likable, but they judge people on first impressions like we all do. It's similar to handing in a written assignment. Even if the presentation has nothing to do with the assignment, if your writing is poor and disorganized, the marker will be less generous.
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    11. #11
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      It shouldn't be a factor. If someone is scared/distraught, no one should expect them to be polite and respectful. It would be nice if they were, but they shouldn't be expected to behave in a composed and polite manner. Any cop who doesn't take a report seriously just because they didn't like the tone of voice that the person used should be fired.

      Cops are humans, sure. But that's no excuse to be a little pansy and slack off just because someone raised their voice at you.

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