Bystanders In Crime Intervention

Crime can be devastating with physical and emotional impacts. Families, friends, witnesses, bystanders and those harmed are affected by these impacts. Despite the manner in which crime occurs, victims may lose their sense of control and self-worth. Bystanders have various ways of reacting to crime. They are; non-interventionism—close but indirect relations, indirect intervention, and spontaneous vigilantism. They choose to intervene in a crime or not to depending on the given situation. This paper gives reasons on whether to have a law compelling bystanders to intervene in crimes in reasonable or all other situations.


Recent research suggests that before anyone intervenes in a crime, a clear deliberation of the likely consequences has to be considered. Violent crimes are a great bother and affect the very core of a free society (American Society of Criminology, Frost, Freilich, and Clear, 2010). There is, therefore, the need to have a sustainable peaceful community. This can be achieved through ethically upright individuals who have the responsibility to preserve peace. They also have to be trustworthy, have personal liberty and able to interact freely without violence. Bystanders are the best source of first-hand information about a crime. They, therefore, have the chance to avert crime, seek help or be of assistance to survivors but most often they do not. More so, they have a duty to intervene when witnessing a violent crime but must understand the form of intervention to take. They have to take charge and stand up for those attacked since society largely relies on them (Guiora, 2017).

In most parts of the world, bystanders are legally required to intervene. In Quebec’s charter of rights, people are encouraged to be of help to anyone whose life is in danger (Cook, 2015). The law, however, creates simple reasons for rescue. The law is satisfied by personal interventions or by a call for help and hardly compels bystanders to run serious risks that may lead to injuries. The common law in the jurisdiction in the United Kingdom, however, does not give people general duty to rescue (Guiora, 2017). For instance, based on law module, it is obvious for parents to take full responsibility for their children as well teachers are to protect their students. However, it is important to note that this does not apply to other relationships. In the past, most countries were in contrast with the idea of creating laws to adopt a general duty to rescue. This was to evade the basis that it would plainly invade an individual’s freedom of choice. This remains a significant point though exaggerated. It is vital to add to the safety of others as the days of autonomous freedom have been passed by time. If a legal obligation contributes to people contacting the police when they witness a crime, then it is of great significance and needs to be imposed (Cook, 2015).

Evidently, it is so obvious to assume that people avoid helping when they fortunately or unfortunately witness crime yet, there is more to it as the explanation is more complicated. For that reason, there should be laws to compel bystanders to intervene when they witness a crime in all situations. Laws can be helpful to allow them to share what they have witnessed and be able to seek help for those affected. In addition, laws help to tackle situations before they advance and result in managing situations before they get out of hand (American Society of Criminology, et al., 2010).

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Enacting of laws to compel bystanders to intervene can bring closure to many affected by crime. These laws should comprise of all situations; reasonable and unreasonable. The law is significant in acting as a guideline in showing what is acknowledged in society. More so, laws help to govern people and ensure they report of crimes or any other situations that may cause havoc. Eventually, people can be able to seek justice using bystanders as witnesses resulting in peace in the community.

Reference List:

  • American Society of Criminology, Frost, N., Freilich, J. D., & Clear, T. R. (2010). Contemporary issues in criminal justice policy: policy proposals from the American Society of Criminology Conference. Belmont, Calif, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning
  • Cook, K. (2015). Kitty Genovese - the murder, the bystanders, the crime that changed America. Ww Norton & Co.
  • Guiora, A. N. (2017). The crime of complicity: The bystander in the Holocaust. Chicago, Illinois Ankerwycke, American Bar Association.

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