Hero or Zero?
We live in a world full of crime, and knowing how to react when we witness a crime is essential. Simply because being informed on how to react in situations where crime is in progress can save your life or the lives of others. In retrospect, being ignorant can escalate the situation and cause further damage.
If you happen to be in a situation where you witness a crime, for example, a robbery in a grocery store or a bank, you are advised to stay away and not interfere or try to apprehend the suspect.
The exception is in cases of self-defense, or in defense of others, it really would be on a case-by-case basis in that regard. Is the situation life or death for someone?
What To Do if You Witness a Crime in Progress
There are various measures you can take to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. These measures include:
- Contacting the police immediately by dialing 911.
- Ensure that you give the dispatcher all the essential details like your name, location, and what’s occurring at the crime scene. Unless the dispatcher tells you to hang up, please don’t do so. Ensure to give the dispatcher all details, especially if other victims are involved, and anyone is hurt.
- If you are in a situation where the intruder is hostile and cannot evacuate the area, retreat to a secure location like an office or a room where you can lock yourself in. Ensure that you turn off the lights, put your phone on silent mode and hide behind a piece of furniture, like a desk.
- If you are in a safe location, ensure that you take a good look at the suspect so that you can give the police a vivid description. Make sure to note the height, sex, race, and approximate age of the suspect. If the suspect tries to flee, note the license plate, the color of the car, and the make. If possible, take pictures. It will be of utmost help to the investigating officers.
- In events of civil disturbances like demonstrations, try to go on with your routine as much as possible. Also, avoid standing on your windows or doors. Do not join such crowds, especially if they start getting unruly.
- Only attempt evacuations of other victims if you are sure that you will not endanger them or yourself.
- If you are in a situation where there is an active shooter, do not provoke the shooter in any way.
- Ensure that everyone stays down on the ground or up against a solid wall.
- If there are other people in the building, warn them so that they can also be safe.
- Only come out after you get the “All Clear” from a police officer.
Why You Are Discouraged from Stopping a Crime in Progress
There are many reasons why civilians are discouraged from taking action against suspects. However, if you found yourself in a situation where you felt that you could help the victim, that would be your first instinct, correct? Unfortunately, most people do not know that their actions are likely to do more harm than good here’s why:
- If you apprehend the suspect by shooting them, you risk being arrested and sentenced for a long time.
- Also, a lawsuit can be presented to you by the person you shot.
- If you destroyed any property by trying to take matters into your own hands, you would risk a lawsuit from the business owners.
- Also, bystanders can claim to have been “traumatized” by your actions.
- Let’s not forget that you may put your life in danger and can seriously be hurt or even killed.
- You can shoot an innocent civilian by trying to help hence doing more harm than good.
- Civilians are not trained to deal with high-stress situations that can escalate quickly. Try to remember that, simply put, it is not your job.
Call To Action
With crime occurring daily, you can be in a situation where you witness an ongoing crime. It is of the utmost importance to remember that you should not put yourself in danger under any circumstances. Stay calm and seek help from the authorities. They will advise you on what to do accordingly.
Call Your Lawyer
If you happen to find yourself being wrongfully accused of a crime, no worries. A criminal defense attorney should be your first call!
Need an Attorney? CALL NOW: 310-274-6529
Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Attorney who has over 21 years of practice defending a variety of cases.