What is crime reporting?
Crime reporting is the first of the nine basic Youth Crime Watch components.
Most simply, it's giving the proper authorities information you have about
- A crime that might be committed
- A crime that has been committed
- Someone who was involved in committing a crime
Young people understand the importance of reporting crime. They want safer
schools and neighborhoods, and if they know how to report effectively, they'll
do it. Young people can help encourage peers to report crime in the making as
well as information on crimes under investigation. YCW's Reporting element aims
- Eliminate youth fear of retaliation.
- Encourage youth to report crime.
- Prevent drug abuse, crime and violence in schools and neighborhoods.
Isn't It Snitching?
Nobody likes a snitch or a tattletale, but young people recognize the difference
between those juvenile behaviors and reporting crime. They're willing to report
because they don't want friends hurt, they don't want a thief on the loose who
might target them, or they don't like the idea of someone getting away with
doing something wrong.
An effective crime reporting system encourages candor and reduces fear by
providing anonymous as well as direct ways to report. It educates the school or
neighborhood about what to report, how to report, and why to report. It shares
successes so the community knows the system works. It is sensitive to its
audience and supportive of their safety and security.
Reporting prevents crime
- It heads off incidents before they can take place
- It helps to identify problems causing crimes
- It makes it easier to find criminals and prevent them from offending again
- It creates a climate that does not tolerate crime
What gets reported?
Anything that would be considered a felony or a serious misdemeanor - thefts,
assaults with or without weapons, drug use or dealing, vandalism, graffiti,
arson, sexual assaults, or threats of these crimes. Some schools have also
chosen to include reporting of such actions as smoking, littering, or truancy,
on the theory that these contribute to a sense of disorder. Other schools have
elected to emphasize major crimes or to focus on a specific crime problem.
How do you decide what to emphasize? State laws on reporting, local priorities,
resources available to follow up on reports, and the nature of existing and
potential problems in the school or neighborhood should all be considered when
determining what kinds of misbehaviors your reporting system should encompass.
It's important to keep the system as open as possible. It may be the only way
some young people have to let a responsible adult know they've been victimized
or witnessed a crime.