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post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm talking about monetary rewards as they relate to crime-solving information.

Why does it seem that no one knows anything about crimes until there is a substantial reward offered?

I mean, what's the thought process involved?

Witness/informant: "Gee, I think that's the guy that did that really heinous thing. He's a dangerous person in society. However, I'm not opening my mouth unless there's at least $100k in it for me"

Isn't the important thing removing a societal threat for the general well-being of all, not monetary self-interest?!

Then again, maybe its just me...
post #2 of 13
Over here, the people who know about a crime are often criminals themselves. That's how they know about it in the first place.

I don't know about the criminals in the US, but those in the Netherlands are not known for their interest in the general well-being of all. It takes something more substantial for them to come forward.
post #3 of 13
Sometimes a witness to a crime may be too scared to come forward. And if they do so, it would mean a change in lifestyle, possibly even disappearing and starting a new life elsewhere, possibly even under witness protection.

It's not easy to come forward to provide information if you are scared for your life or for your loved ones' lives, especially if you are connected to the person who committed the crime.
post #4 of 13
I could be wrong, but I think that that is exactly the point billchamb was trying to make.

If you get nothing, you're too scared to come forward.
But if you get 100K, all of a sudden you're not that scared anymore?

If I knew about a crime and I wasn't afraid, I guess I'd provide the information.
But if I were scared I probably wouldn't say anything, even if the reward was 100.000 or more.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
So...its more comfortable knowing that you're allowing a criminal to roam free (potentially perpetrating more criminal activity)?

Honestly, having never been faced with the situation myself, I can't say *exactly* how I'd react, but I don't know if I could sleep restfully with the knowledge that my silence is, in essence, aiding and abetting crime.

Mind you...I'm not pointing fingers or taking shots at victims. I understand the fear aspect.

But the intent of the original question applies to *anyone* with information.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
If you get nothing, you're too scared to come forward.
But if you get 100K, all of a sudden you're not that scared anymore?
@Seagull: Yes! That's what I'm getting at.
post #7 of 13
Over the last 5 years or so, there have been a series of crimes linked to bikie gangs within the state. And with each crime, or at least the great majority of them that made the nightly news, very little or no information was provided by the general public or by other members of the bikie gangs.

Rewards were offered in order to break the so called 'Code of Silence' coupled with offers of Witness Protection hoping to convince people to come forward and give evidence. I don't think it was all that successful.

I don't have a problem with rewards being offerred. They are being done for the good for the majority and if it leads to vital information being provided then I do not see the harm.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Mags: I'm not complaining about the rewards themselves. Rather, I'm trying to understand the thought process behind a reward being the make-or-break of coming forward with information or keeping silent.

Generally speaking, rewards are granted as positive reinforcment for good "behavior".

In the light I'm looking at it, these monetary rewards for crime info are being used to entice/bait people and have come to be, somewhat, expected. Like: "Hey, what am I gonna get for telling you something you wanna know?"
post #9 of 13
Its interesting you should bring this up Bill.

Someone I know of was convicted of a murder, based on the testimony of an "eyewitness" who came forward after being offered a $2000 reward - he was a crackhead and had a manslaughter conviction to boot. His testimony was the only evidence brought against her at her trial.

SO, I dont agree with rewarding people for catching someone - it should come out of the goodness out of your heart and in pursuit of justice, not from how much you can fill up your wallet. I wonder how many people have been convicted wrongfully because someone wanted the money?
post #10 of 13
Many times these witnesses come from the same area as the crime, namely ghetto areas. People there have a general distrust of the law, so they would rather not get involved unless it benefits them.
post #11 of 13
you know just about everything is about deals these days, so why not crime, i have a friend in the law enforement field and from what i have been told that offering rewards is the only way to break a case, people are wrong i think to wait until a award is offered but money speaks volumes and makes some people take changes that they normaly would not take, but by that all said, if that ends up getting the people or persons off the streets, isnt that the goal? i think we all agree on that, getting them locked away.
post #12 of 13
Well, I think that fear does play a role for some people. In Washington DC there was a large crime wave mostly due to gang activity that occured a while back. The police would arrest someone, get witnesses, get to the trial and find the witnesses had been intimidated and threatened and refused to testify. For someone in that situation, they may see the reward as a way to move out of the city (and away from reprisals) if the testify.

As for other people? I think that a lot of people simply don't see doing their civic duty, and getting a criminal off the street, rewarding in and of itself. I think that's sad, but I'm not sure how we can change that attitude.
post #13 of 13
Since the people most likely to have knowledge of a crime are criminals themselves, they're not going to do something for nothing.

In the past, I've reported crimes, with no thought to a reward. I just wanted those people out of my neighborhood.

A few blocks south of my neighborhood is a cluster of crime and drug-ridden apartment complexes. A police task force is working closely with residents and managers, to clean out thes places. The residents who cooperate are using the reward money to move to other neighborhoods, to avoid possible reprisals.
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