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Old 20th February 2014, 15:40   #1
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Default What do you do after witnessing a crime?

I was just curious about what will you do in a situation where you see crime being committed. Now it could be a small thing from pick-pocketing to a big crime like hit and run. Do let me know if you guys have witnessed anything or have done anything.

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I'll start with my own personal experience. About 16 years back, chain-snatching was a very common crime committed in streets of Ahmedabad. It still is one of the most committed crimes in the country.

So, my brother and mother had gone to buy groceries for the house from a street bazaar. Suddenly, two guys on a Kinetic Honda, approached this lady in mid-40s who was standing next to my mother and snatched her chain and ran away. In this process, the chain made a gash in the lady's neck and there was a lot of blood spewing out. The street hawkers rushed to cover the wound and one of them went to the nearby hospital to get some help. Everybody was panicking. My mom, then heard the sound of my brother's bike, a Suzuki Samurai, turned around and shouted at him to not do what he was planning to. Yes, my brother was planning to chase these thieves down. He was agitated and furious beyond imagination. He was just a teenager who witnessed a crime that happened in the periphery of her mother. All he could think of what if it was her mother instead of that woman.

Anger had turned him deaf. He went behind the thieves. Thanks to Samurai being the faster vehicle, within no time he got close to the thieves. The guy riding pillion on Kinetic saw this and asked his partner in crime to speed up. They tried knocking my brother down by kicking at the bike, but they couldn't. They hurled the helmet on my brother but he punched it away. And finally when my brother got close to them, he kicked the Kinetic. The rider lost the control and they fell in an open ditch on the side of the road. The rider suffered from some minor injury hence he was unable to get up and run. The pillion rider got up and pulled out a pocketknife and charged towards my brother, but luckily all this happened some 50 meters away from the police station.

2 hawaldars rushed towards the knife-wielding goon and caught hold of him. Another hawaldar arrived and he slapped my brother hard, thinking that it was his fault. My brother explained the situation to the hawaldar. The goon riding the Kinetic was limping while he was being taken away into the holding cell and he threatened my brother that he'll get his revenge.

The chain was retrieved. The lady healed in 2 weeks time.The cops got the street-hawkers to file the FIR instead of my brother, on my mother's permission (my mother did not want my brother to step anywhere close to the goons after the threat and cops understood the situation). My mother, even after having slapped my brother n number of time, did not speak with him for about a week.

About 3 years back I asked my brother if he were to witness a crime like this, will he do something like that all over again, considering he is married and has a 3 year old son. He said yes. And then he asked me, would you? I did gave him yes as an answer, but I knew I lied to him. I've seen a person being brutally beaten in Mumbai...but I had just moved in to the city. I saw a rickshaw driver, in Bangalore, about to hit a girl for whatever the reason it may be, but I was on the other side of the road, on my way to the airport. I don't think I'm ready to handle the situation like this. But the shivering fact about it is, that if something were to happen to me and my family tomorrow...maybe no one will step forward.

Your thoughts, comments or stories?




MODS: I'm not sure if a thread like this exists or not, but if it does, please merge it.

Last edited by creative420 : 20th February 2014 at 15:48.
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Old 20th February 2014, 16:02   #2
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Default re: What do you do after witnessing a crime?

I suggest keep your cool, remain in a safer place, take out your smart phone and record the crime. Help the victim after the loot is over if required.
Accompany victim to the police station and help him lodge the complaint with your recording as supporting evidence.

This is ofcource if you are not inclined to take a risk or get involved directly.

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Old 20th February 2014, 16:16   #3
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Default re: What do you do after witnessing a crime?

I would say, if you have the contacts and if you can handle the proceedings of the incidence well then one must definitely intervene and teach such anti-social elements a lesson and show them "who's the daddy".

Fear of what will the goon or the person committing the crime do after he is free from jail or the law is what holds us normal people back.
Majority of people would just form a circle around and watch the incidence and other cowards would run away and keep "kaam se kaam".
What needs to change is our Indians' attitude towards such situations. If everyone intervenes during such situations instead of just spectating, I'm sure the goons wouldn't point at each one and say "dekh lunga".
The saying of safety in numbers works here as well, if people unite in good numbers the miscreants would not dare say anything; and we will have much safer cities and towns.

-Bhargav
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Old 20th February 2014, 16:30   #4
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Default re: What do you do after witnessing a crime?

If the crime entails monetary loss, do as JLS advised - record evidence to let the law take its course (flawed though it might be). There isn't too much value in getting more involved, unless you have the strength of numbers behind you. For criminals, life is cheap, and they wouldn't mind wounding or killing their target or any well-wishers who intervene.

If the crime threatens life (e.g. kidnapping, rape, etc.) then I believe we have a moral obligation to get more involved despite the associated risk. How involved? That varies based on our individual moral compass.

I agree its extremely hard to intervene and be a good Samaritan - since others might prefer being onlookers rather than involving themselves.
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Old 20th February 2014, 17:05   #5
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Default re: What do you do after witnessing a crime?

First of all, what is considered a crime? The definition varies from person to person. For some people, offering or accepting bribe is a crime too. What do you do when you are present at a Govt office and witness rampant bribing? So for me, a mature person will generally protest against a crime ONLY when he/she feels there is nothing to lose (finacial / health or social status wise).
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Old 20th February 2014, 22:55   #6
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Default re: What do you do after witnessing a crime?

Well, I dont react now. I used to earlier, but not now.
Yes, losing temper is first step and once it happens I know that all sense is lost.
A lot depends upon crime, i.e. intensity and individuals involved.

Bullying on road ( which is very common now a days ) to builders snatching away land and doing useless stuff, I have witnessed it all, but prefer to stay cool. But when I react, its hard on others. My family members want me to be safe and I know that nothing is going to change with only my effort. That said, if some gruesome crime is being committed, I will react.

But keeping a cool mind also helps an individual think more. Any Act of valor or bravery is not likely to reward and ordinary citizen in this country. Tolerance is a good virtue, but not beyond a limit.
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Old 21st February 2014, 09:59   #7
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Default re: What do you do after witnessing a crime?

I think people do NOT get involved for the reason that is our "system". Even if some of these goons are caught, they will come out in no time if they have "contacts". And the good samaritans' bad time starts. If the law was strict, then more people would have dared to get involved / react.
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Old 21st February 2014, 11:29   #8
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Default re: What do you do after witnessing a crime?

I guess more relevant is , are you justified in taking the law in your own hands when you see a crime committed? While I am not taking any sides, on the OP, the question that comes to mind is that - Was kicking the kinetic justified? It was fortunate that the injury to the thieves were not severe - what if the accident resulted in some permanent or worse, fatal injury. WHat would have been the repercussions?

As pointed out facilitating the police by capturing important information is probably the best thing to do.

Few months ago, I was returning back to Pune via the MPEW when we saw a biker and pillion girl on the MPEW. Went close to them (at 60 kmph) and had my wife indicate to them to stop the bike since it is not permitted on the expressway. The result was that the biker sped up. I chased but seeing an exit of sorts coming gave up thinking that would be the intention of the couple. Nope! They continued with the next exit being the Toll booth. I sped up, overtook them and stopped at the first police vehicle few kms ahead (Yes they do patrol the MPEW). Told them about the rider - the cop saw the biker coming and stepped out to flag them down. Biker ignored them as well and continued speeding. The next few minutes were akin to movie style. I gave chase, the cop got into his bolero, switched on the sirens and joined the chase. The biker sped up even further but it's no match for a 4 wheeler. Pretty soon, the cop came alongside, me short distance behind and stopped the 2 wheeler. I continued on....

Seemed like a trivial thing, but not stopping when cop asks you is suspicious and I felt good having done some good civic duty.
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Old 21st February 2014, 12:18   #9
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Default re: What do you do after witnessing a crime?

I think a lot of you have a valid point.

1. If you have contacts to back yourself up, then yes, you can get involved.
2. Or you can record the crime and let the law take over (however inefficient it may be in some cases).
3. Or intervene only if the crowd intervenes.
4. Or just pass the information to the cops.

But more often, for me, it's the guilt of not being able to do anything.

@mmxylorider I know what my brother did was potentially very risky. He didn't know the repercussions of him kicking the Kinetic Honda. He could have very well spend a long time behind bars. But when I guess he was motivated to do this because the goons did this to a woman standing right next to my mother. I think most of us would do the same if we see something so dangerous, which could have happened to people we love.

It's a very debatable thing: delivering justice on your own without following law and order. Because we're used to a law and order which benefits only a handful of people.

Do you think there could be any initiative that citizens of this country can introduce to keep things in check?

A friend from US told me that a lot of societies in US have something called a neighbourhood watch. These guys have their own identity and posters which are pasted all over the neighbourhood. And the safety has actually improved in these areas. Maybe it's just a form of behavioral design/psychology taking charge.

What if we were to coin a phrase, more like a sound alarm, to get the support of people in case one witnesses a crime? But then again, the question remains who will be the brave one to take the first step.
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Old 21st February 2014, 18:59   #10
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Default Re: What do you do after witnessing a crime?

Wow your brother had a narrow escape that day. He should thank his lucky stars he's safe. It could have been worse.

I'm sure even if back then he wouldn't have minded causing grief to his parents and siblings, which I don't believe, today with a wife and a young son, he was definitely lying.

Only when you lose your mind in the heat of the moment would you do what he did.

India is a land of the wise, not of the brave. Comparisons with America are not valid.

Last edited by GTO : 22nd February 2014 at 15:56. Reason: Too gruesome, buddy. Please avoid, thanks
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Old 21st February 2014, 21:23   #11
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Default Re: What do you do after witnessing a crime?

Well i faced a similar situation last year and was 19 then. We were going to abhiruchi citypride for a movie at night. Me and my friend took an exit from the pune-b'lore highway at the vadgaon bridge. We saw that on the highway this Zen had crashed into a Swift D'zire which was parked on the side of the road. The D'zire was being driven by the driver and the Zen had two drunk people. The Zen had ruling party's stickers and flags. The front end of the Zen was completely smashed. No visible damage to the Dzire's rear bumper. The driver of the dzire took the Zen owners number and asked them to leave. The Zen guy started his car and was unable to move due to the damage. As they were drunk they got furious and started hitting the D'zire driver, took the cars keys out and when 2-3 people tried to stop them even they were hit. Me and my friend were about to go near them and save the driver but then i told my friend lets call the police. I was about to dial 100 when he told him lets go to the near by station which was just 300ms from there. We went there and informed the constable and inspector on duty. They immediately sent a team to the place and asked us to leave. After we were done with the movie we took the service road and saw the smashed Zen parked. This is what i could conclude-

1. I know the D'zire driver should have had put his parking lamps on. But he had just reached the side of the road. He had his headlamps on so the car was visible.

2. These people in the Zen were so drunk that they were driving at 80+kmph speeds on the parking side of the road.

3. I could have had easily gone and fought with those two but then i knew someday they would catch hold of me. This was the reason i did not call the police from my phone. The Zen owners were having ruling party flags and i was merely a college student. After sorting out the matter he could have had got my number and rest i dont have to describe here.

A friend did call me a coward but then my point was to save the driver which did happen.
This was the only time where i had dealt calmly. Otherwise i am pretty hot headed when dealing with such things.

And yes if i was in your brother's place i would have had done the same thing. Only in a situation where there was no one to take the lady to the hospital i would stay with her instead of chasing the thieves. Why would i chase them? because i knew i was doing something right and god would help me. Lastly because i am a human and sometimes its just not about the risk involved but about this simple question- What would you do if it was your family/ friend in such a situation? I know many would point out the possible different consequences of taking the risk but then the instantaneous anger at our age makes us react in such a way.

Asit
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Old 21st February 2014, 23:38   #12
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Default What do you do after witnessing a crime?

I got you when you mentioned 'Lucky stars'. Don't think there was a need to mention the gruesome scenarios. Particularily the 4th scenario. As I believe that you can, in a very sane mind, imagine...that is what my mom was worried about when he went for the chase. And that is what any sane person will think of when narrated an incident like this.

I do share your point and think it was utterly stupid of him to chase the thieves, but guess you and I cannot even begin to imagine what exactly was he thinking when he did this. Maybe the teen in him wanted to act bigger than he was. Or maybe it was a fear of this happening to our mom.

Please refrain from using such graphic scenarios like this, Doc. It is a request.

@asit.kulkarni93 One of the vendors/hawkers rushed to the nearby hospital while others, including my mom, took care of her until help arrived. And thanks for sharing your story.

Last edited by GTO : 22nd February 2014 at 15:56. Reason: Quoted post edited, hence removing from here
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Old 23rd February 2014, 00:41   #13
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Default Re: What do you do after witnessing a crime?

I formally apologize for my previous post. Thankfully it has been edited.
I really do appreciate the civil mindedness of general public at times of crisis.
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