Central Coast

Dear Jon: Waiting to report a crime puts the prosecution behind the "8 Ball"

Source says reporting a crime sooner than later best

You think a crime has been committed, but you're questioning whether to report it. That's the predicament for "Bittersweetwolf13". "Dear Jon, how long do I have to report a crime?" My source in law enforcement said something to me that makes a lot of sense on this question.

If you think a crime has been committed, don't wait to call. It's better to call sooner than later for several reasons.

Here's probably the most important reason. If a crime was committed and you wait to call police, you're actually helping the defense in the case because it's harder to find and question witnesses, the longer time passes.

In the case of a homicide, there is no statute of limitations, so investigating a case of this nature would happen regardless of when it was reported.

For sexual assaults or other violent crimes, burglary or even misdemeanors, the statute of limitations varies.  

So the best rule of thumb is what "you" think. If you think a crime has been committed, make the call soon and make a report to the police.

Between you and the police, you can determine the nature of the case and how to proceed.

In that conversation with police, you can determine if they can help you or not. If they can help you, you'll be glad you called in to report the crime. If the police can't help you, then they should be able to tell you what your next course of action can be, short of being a vigilante!

Perhaps you could hire a private investigator to help you get more evidence in the case, if need be. Then this could be turned over to police so they have something to go on.

If that's not a possibility, perhaps the case could be a civil matter, not a criminal matter and you can use the court system to handle your case. Either way, my source says don't wait to call and report the crime.

If you have a question for me, email me by clicking the link above. You can call our newsroom and ask for me if you like at 831-757-6397. Or you can message me on Facebook or Twitter.

comments powered by Disqus