Reasons for not reporting crime

Crime Happen Everywhere, Every Day

Crime is a constant event that occurs daily in America. Everything from simple robbery and pickpocketing to sexual assault happens every day, but only half of these crimes are reported to police. The reasons why these crimes go unreported are myriad. A lack of faith in the justice system, a fear of reprisal, shame, and a lack of seriousness of the crime all can affect someone’s decision to report.

Unreported Property Crimes

One of the most overlooked crimes that happen in every city or small town is property crime. Burglary, theft (both larceny and vehicle theft), and arson are all serious occurrences, but almost half of all these crimes go unreported. One reason for this is because the perpetrator was someone close to the victim, and the victim fears either harming or angering them. However, one of the bigger reasons is that the crime was discovered too late, with the stolen items being gone for months before it was noticed.

Unreported Hate Crimes

Hate crime, until recently, was not treated with seriousness. Victims of hate crimes typically do not report them due to the fear of reprisal from the perpetrators, however a fear of police indifference is a key aspect of this. Hate crimes can vary in seriousness, from simple vandalism and theft to sexual assault and even murder. Hate crimes are often falsely reported by neighbors, coworkers, or others with ulterior motives and caught by an observant criminal defense attorney or police detective.

Unreported Sexual Assault and Rape

One of the most serious crimes that could happen to someone is sexual assault. After the crime, it is common for victims to not report them for multiple reasons. It could be that the perpetrator is someone close to them, such as a spouse or a family member, or that they are afraid of reprisals. However, the biggest reason why sexual assault is often unreported is because many victims go through feelings of shame after the assault that could last for many years or even their entire lifetime.

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Unreported crime can embolden criminals to continue victimizing other persons.

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Unreported sexual assault crimes can have a negative life-long effect on victims.

Making the Choice to Report a Crime

It is within the victim’s own personal choice whether they report a crime or not. Sometimes they are in a situation where they cannot report without putting themselves or their loved ones in danger. But it is with this decision that they could endanger others to be victims as well. Today, many municipalities have created a system to protect victims from further harm or harassment and to bring the offender to justice.