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Reporting Crimes and Victimization

Almost all crimes become known to the police because citizens, usually victims, report them. In this role as gatekeeper, victims weigh their concerns about injustice, their own security, and the security of the community against the costs of reporting the crime, which may include a belief that the police are unlikely to arrest the offender or return stolen property and the notion that involvement in the criminal justice process is time-consuming and possibly humiliating. Typically, victims are more likely to report more serious crimes. The information and advice that victims solicit and receive from others are, often, also important. Just as in the case of victims, bystanders' decisions to report criminal events are frequently subject to the social influence of others.

In the United States, there ...

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