Reporting Crimes: Required or Moral Obligation?

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Did you know that if you witness a crime, you are not legally required to report it to authorities or intervene? Of course, morally, it’s the right thing to do, but you wouldn’t legally be punished if you didn’t. These are circumstantial and there are cases and instances where some people may actually have to take action, but overall, most of the time, it’s not a required duty.

Many people don’t report a crime they witnessed or have knowledge about because they don’t want to get involved or they are concerned for their safety, even if they do so anonymously. Many people won’t intervene and stop the situation (and maybe make a citizen’s arrest) because it is dangerous and again, they don’t want to be involved.

Examples of situations or cases where it is mandatory to file a report with the police would include people in certain professions needing to report child abuse and/ or elderly abuse. School counselors, doctors, and therapists are some such professionals who need to do this if they suspect it.

So – if you were to ever witness a crime, it is up to your best judgment if you will report it; remember, you can report crimes anonymously.

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