Friday, March 1, 2013

Shouldn't society be more helpful to victims of crime?

Two crime news items struck my attention, especially with a show I saw on TV5 Monde this week. 

The first news was about a person accused under the IT act possibly because the police did not know that the American date format is mmddyy and not ddmmyy :) A fairly obvious case of mistaken identity creating havoc in the life of an ordinary person.

The second news was the arrest of a landlord for not getting antecedents of his tenants checked! The tenants got into a fight and murdered a neighbour. As it is, getting someone to give accommodation on rent is very-very hard. I am sure filing papers with police will make it even harder and it is very doubtful if it makes the city any safer. I would be inclined to look at the landlord as a victim of the crime. His life is bound to be affected by what his tenants did.

The show on French tv was about victims of crime. In this episode, it was identity theft. One woman discovers that she is supposedly married when she tried to get married! Some woman had used her identity to get married. Why would one need to do that? Anyway, the victim has been struggling to get her past cleaned up.

In another incident, someone had defrauded a lot of banks by overdrawing on accounts by using the identity of a person. He is now stranded without any credit cards and is trying to clean up his fake past. He has to suffer little indignities like his clients looking at him strangely when he pays a large restaurant bill in cash!

It is easy to find that huge sums of money are spent on fighting crime and punishing criminals. Usually, few object to spending even more for these activities. Yet, I am not sure if any money at all is spent by the society in helping the victims.

Wouldn't it be more reasonable to accept that given human nature and our knowledge of biology, some crime will happen. Shouldn't we balance the expenditure - spend less on hopelessly trying to eliminate crime and spend some money on helping the victims cope.

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