Comments about ‘Letter: Tackling crime’

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Published: Sunday, Oct. 13 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Midvaliean
MIDVALE, UT

Nazia, to be blunt yes. Crime is prosecuted AFTER its committed. Yes this seems to be counter-productive sometimes, but really, can you imagine a world where you or anyone could say: "this or that person was going to do X, Arrest them!"

The reality on the ground is the police have finite resources. There are a lot of people. Crime statistics can only track crimes we have found. Criminal Justice 101 at the community school might be a really interesting class for you.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Just prior to reading this letter, I was listening to a TV conversation about the “search and rescue” efforts in Salt Lake County. They touched upon the resources and costs involved in the search and rescue which of course were mega costs to the average guy.

A person stuck on a mountain ledge obviously in more important than a person receiving a threatening phone call that was just some criminal with a scam. However when you consider that for every person lost or stuck on a ledge there are probably thousands of criminal phone calls and internet attacks perhaps we should reevaluate the distribution of government protection.

Contrariusiest
mid-state, TN

@Midvaliean --

"Crime is prosecuted AFTER its committed."

Making a threatening phone call can be a felony offense, depending on the threats being made. So, yes, a crime may have already been committed.

Maybe you slept through that lecture in your Criminal Justice 101 class. ;-)

Contrariusiest
mid-state, TN

Here ya go -- Utah Criminal Code --

Title 76 Utah Criminal Code

76-9-201. Electronic communication harassment -- Definitions -- Penalties.

[....]

(c) "Electronic communication device" includes telephone, facsimile, electronic mail, or pager.
[....]
(2) A person is guilty of electronic communication harassment and subject to prosecution in the jurisdiction where the communication originated or was received if with intent to annoy, alarm, intimidate, offend, abuse, threaten, harass, frighten, or disrupt the electronic communications of another, the person:
[....]
(c) makes contact by means of electronic communication and threatens to inflict injury, physical harm, or damage to any person or the property of any person

This is classified as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on circumstances like repetition, whether the threats are against an adult or a minor, and so on.

Midvaliean
MIDVALE, UT

@Contrariusiest
The circumstances you are referring to mean a crime was committed. Conspiracy to murder/terror etc are crimes. Sorry to say I didn't sleep through class.
If you commit a crime you can be prosecuted. You can't be prosecuted for no crime. Attempting to scam someone in this case is NOT a crime. No scam occurred. She outsmarted him by not engaging. And even if his scam worked it still might not have been a crime depending on what happened.

Midvaliean
MIDVALE, UT

Semantics. I supposed you can be prosecuted for anything. However prosecutors typically like evidence of a crime.

Contrariusiest
mid-state, TN

@Midvaliean --

Threats ARE a crime.

So is impersonating a law officer.

Utah Criminal Code 76-8-512. Impersonation of officer.

"Attempting to scam someone in this case is NOT a crime."

Actually, it is.

People are convicted of attempted fraud all the time. There are many fraud/theft-by-deception laws (see Utah Code 76-6).

Like attempted burglary or attempted murder, you don't have to be *successful* to be a criminal.

So, actually, at least THREE crimes were committed here.

" Sorry to say I didn't sleep through class."

Maybe you just skipped that day. ;-)

"prosecutors typically like evidence of a crime."

The complainant's phone record is evidence. Unfortunately, it isn't incontrovertible proof -- unless she records all her calls.

That's the tough part about prosecuting threats. Ya gotta have recordings (written, audio, or video) or witnesses to make it stick.

OTOH, there's a good chance that this guy is doing the same thing to other people. IMHO this at least presents reasonable suspicion for investigation -- see how many other people have been called by this number, and so on.

But then we run back into the issue of limited police resources.

Unfortunately, not every crime gets followed up.

Midvaliean
MIDVALE, UT

@Contrariusiest
The phone call itself is only evidence of a call. If the call wasn't recorded then its he said she said. That is the problem.

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

The best place for reporting fraudulent phone calls is the FCC - they have the resources to track the calls and look for patterns.

It is very difficult for local police to track phone calls after the fact - and numbers on caller ID are not always the real number.

As for the "people finder" comment in the letter, what are the cops supposed to search for, "people pretending to be deputies"?

When lives are on the line, that takes precedence over an attempted fraudulent call.

Contrariusiest
mid-state, TN

@Midvaliean --

"The phone call itself is only evidence of a call. If the call wasn't recorded then its he said she said. That is the problem."

That's basically what I already said. ;-)

The phone record is evidence, just as fingerprints would be evidence. Unfortunately, neither is incontrovertible proof.

Don't worry, I agree with you that these crimes are very unlikely to ever be solved or punished.

I only posted at all because I was amused by your bold and somewhat condescending assertion that no crime had been committed. In fact, two or three crimes were probably committed -- whether or not the perpetrator is ever caught.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I know that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I hope that when is yelling, it's to save my life. I know that some normal tone of voice is loud. I have to see who is the person being loud, then see if there is a wolf or not.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Nazia,
It's never as simple as a people finder. If it was.. the person calling you would already be caught and unable to call you.

The police know what they're doing. There are some crimes that they just can't solve with the resources a local PD has. If you had any idea the resources people have wasted trying to track down scammers (who ALWAYS spoof some other phone number and never use their own phone number or they would get caught on the first call).... you would not be so critical.

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