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When to report crimes?

A Xt3 Member asked at 6:51pm on September 25th 2018
Hi Father, I wanted to know when do we have to report crimes that we see or hear other people doing? Like for instance, I know some people who have fake IDs and who pirate movies/music online. Am I obliged to report them by moral law as legally, we're not obliged nor is it my job. What about people I know who drive buzzed on beer but are still concious of how they drive and all? This has been really bothering me because I know many people who do illegal things and I find it overwhelming that I have to report it if I am obliged.

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Hi Karen, in many parts of the English speaking world there's difference between a crime and a civil offence. A crime is considered as committed against the whole state and these are prosecuted by the state; civic cases are considered to be offenses against an individual and these are dealt with by civil law lawsuits. Since crimes are much more seriously considered, concealing crime d result in a person being accused as accessory before, during or after the fact - if they had knowledge of the crime about to be committed, or while was committed, or after it had been committed.

But all of your examples have more to do with civil offences. I'd be more inclined if they were friends of yours to point out the dangers they were running - like driving while drunk. You're definitely not obliged to intervene in these cases, since often those offending are unlikely to listen to your advice. A lot of law is a matter of common sense and for me you're not obliged to report most of the cases you mention. What if there's knowledge of real crime, like drug dealing? A lot depends here on just how good the local police are. If you've a fair suspicion they'll inform on to the drug dealers, I'd say were putting yourself at unjustifiable risk and should keep quiet about what's going on. I'm really sorry I don't know what country your writing from and I could be more specific if I knew. Keeping you in my prayers, Fr Brendan
Xt3's Ask a Priest answered at 6:10pm on October 2nd 2018 reply

 
I'm in the US. Thank you Father
A Xt3 Member replied at 7:49pm on October 2nd 2018 report reply
 

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