Witness to a crime - should I come forward or not?


#1

What will you do if you are a witness to a crime (murder, rape, assault, robbery etc) and the cops are looking for witnesses? What if you are threatened not to report it or feel that you’re life is in complete danger if ever you come forward? I knew of someone who went under the Witness Protection Program and he emailed me stating that his life and that of his family are in a complete state of hell. How will that measure up to one’s beliefs?


#2

I think that one must form one’s conscience in line with the precepts of the Church and the Ten Commandments, and do what is right. In doing so, one must weigh many factors.

Those in witness protection are not permitted to contact people from their past. So, it is quite a stretch to think he emailed you. But I suppose it happens.

One always hopes not to be put to such a test.


#3

Huge difference between murder and assault.

If the murderer was a proper gangster who threatened my family and I knew he would do it then I may emigrate.


#4

I would discreetly call the police and ask for protection. If you can help solve a crime, I think you should do so, since we are commanded to love others. Solving crime brings relief to another person’s suffering.


#5

This is one of those moral dilemmas, but I’m sure it does arise in real life. I can’t say for certain what I might do under the circumstances. My tendency would be to care for my family first rather than take the risk of reporting the crime. OTOH I’m not sure I could live with myself if I knew that my testimony might make the difference between putting a dangerous criminal who murdered someone behind bars and allowing him to roam the streets, possibly harming or murdering other people including my family and me.


#6

Most places have a mechanism to report crime anonymously. If there is enough information given to law enforcement they might be able to follow the leads to solve the crime and bring about justice without involving the person reporting. I wold feel morally obliged to do at least this much if I found myself in that position. :getholy:


#7

I can only speak for myself. I would, no matter what, come forward. Those who commit violent crimes, or any crime for that matter, are counting on people being afraid. That gives them power and free reign to do as they please.

Yes it can be risky, and yes I have had to go to court over a crime to give my testimony. I understand fully the risks and the fears. But I have long ago decided that I will not tolerate violent crimes or being intimidated. The victims of crimes deserve justice, and that can come at a heavy price. They still deserve justice.


#8

We are to do good no matter what the consequences. If questioned, you have to tell the truth. Now if no one knows you witnessed something, not coming forward may be a sin of omission. Failure to do good. A criminal may go on to do more crimes and it that may rest heavy on your conscience.


#9

Hi new atheist,

I would come forward, too.

I would not want any of these criminals to be free, so that they can go on to hurt others and so that they can be free to commit other crimes.


#10

I think that there’s a big difference in either giving an anonymous tip and going to court to be a witness. Even if my life were to be threatened, I’d hope I’d have the courage to step forward anyway. Of course, I would also say that there is a threat against me. I’d hate to be the next victim. But I don’t think that’s the case most of the time. I think the only time someone goes into the witness protection program is when it’s a major federal case. And, yes, there’s no contact with anyone from your past.


#11

I would most likely give information anonymously, but I would have to think long and hard about actually testifying in court, in front of alot of people, in that case, it would really depend on the crime and who is involved, and how many ‘friends’ the criminal had on the outside, if it in ANY way involved the mafia or any other such group, I would definitely not get involved, they can find people too easily, and it would be too dangerous.

I dont think I would go into a witness protection program either, mainly due to the amount of corruption within law enforcement agencies, I would constantly be worried if the ‘right’ person had been paid off or offered a large sum to give up my location, so I could not live like that, However I may be more likely to trust non-US law enforcement, such as Canada, or Europe, the corruption is just too great in the US imo.

Thankfully though, most of us will never have to worry about such things! I truly say I hope I never see any serious crime taking place…for a number of reasons!


#12

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