Why does crime go unreported?


In our everyday lives we are surrounded by crime, it is everywhere and it's constantly occurring all the time. The majority of these crimes are reported crimes, the police are aware of the crime taking place and can take further action if required. However, there is sometimes crime that goes unreported, these crimes that are not reported can be ascribed to a few different reasons. 

The crimes that are not reported to the police can have drastic consequences. People can get seriously injured and harmed and sometimes can result in the tragic deaths of some victims. Unreported crimes are growing increasingly every year with the statistics increasing even more.

But the question is, why don’t people report certain crimes?

Crimes that go unreported can be for an array of different reasons, all of these depending on the victim and sometimes even witnesses. 


Personal reasons

In all crimes, there will always be different reasons to why that crime is committed. But what about when it is unreported? Why doesn't the victim just report the crime? 

One of these reasons can be due to ‘Fear’. The victim of a crime may feel too scared and worried about the resolution when it comes to them reporting the incident. For example, a victim of vandalism may feel to alarmed to call the police and tell them of the incident, due to feeling too frightened that the perpetrator will commit the same act again, or even feel too upset for their own safety because in their perception, the offender is dangerous and who knows what they will do to them if they was to become aware that the victim has gone and told the police.


One more reason that a victim may not feel open to report the crime can be linked to their ‘Relationship to the offender’. An example of this can be within a relationship of a couple, there might be a tendency of domestic abuse between the two. The victim is blinded by their relationship with the offender to see that they have done wrong and cross the line to go and report their beloved partner to the police because they love them. Thus, the abuse will continue and spiral to the point of where the victim can be extremely injured and in some cases, hospitalised.  It has been estimated by Refugee that in England alone 24% of domestic abuse is actually reported, leaving a staggering 76% of domestic abuse cases that are not reported.


Social/cultural reasons 

Now we are aware of when it's the victim not reporting a crime that's happening to them, but what about when it's the public? 

For instance, an example of when the public may witness a crime but will feel reluctant to call in and report the crime is because of the lack of knowledge of a crime. This means that the crime that has been committed is too complex for the public, and they are unaware of what to do in terms of reporting the crime. To give you an idea of what I'm referring to, an individual may not report a financial crime that has happened to them because they don't have the idea of what to do or sometimes, it can also be the case in which the victim has no acknowledgement that a crime has even happened to them.


Another example of why a witness may not report a crime can be due to them simply not being bothered by the crime being committed in front of them, this can be known as ‘No public concern’. For example, a person may be the witness of teenagers in a park who are drinking, this witness will not take it in their time to call the police and report it, because the teenagers who are committing a crime of underage drinking are not affecting the person in any way so why should they get involved.

In conclusion…

More people need to become aware of unreported crimes. The impact that unreported crimes have is serious, and sometimes can be the difference between life and death in the sense that if you as a victim do not reach out for help, you can be at potential risk of future harm and a definite in the problem not coming to a stop. Don't be afraid to call if you witness a crime or if you suspect that you are a victim.