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How can the average citizen stop crime?

In the city where I live in the police is quite corrupt and many crimes go unpunished. Their response time is also terrible. As a result I began to think that the answer to crime and drug dealing does not lie within our government, but among us, the citizens. So I would like to know, do you know of any way for the average citizen to stop (or help stop) crime?

It doesn't matter if it's at the local, state or national level or if you suggest individual or collective acts, any suggestions will help. Thank you in advance.

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    Dec 5 2013: what are the crimes you are talking about? How do you know they are crimes, are you a student of the law? What makes you sure they go unpunished?

    If you see what you think is a crime, and you know or have a suspicion that it has gone unpunished, possibly you should go to a law library and research whether it really is a crime or not.
    • Dec 5 2013: Any type of crime. Pickpocketing here happens a lot and it certainly is punishable by law but the police is never around to stop it. If you want a more clear example, a friend of mine was stabbed to death a few days ago and the perpetrator, who is a minor, is already out with his parents, who were not punished either. A security camera confirms this.

      Those two crimes used to be punished as is dictated by our law (and they didn't use to happen almost at all), so I guess there is no need for me to check in a law library since as far as I know our law hasn't changed in that aspect.
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        Dec 5 2013: Rodrigo, what is your evidence that pickpocketing happens a lot? Is it just something you hear people say, you can't always believe what people say?

        To me it makes sense that the police aren't around to stop a pickpocket. If a pickpocket sees a policeman, he's not going to pickpocket at that time, he's going to wait until the policeman is gone?

        I am sorry about your friend. Perhaps the person who stabbed him is out on bail? Here in the U.S., if you have been arrested for a crime and are being held awaiting a trial, you can pay a certain amount of money to the court and be free while you are waiting for trial. If you show up for the trial, you get the bail money back. If you flee, the court gets to keep the money.

        I still say you should check laws, you always have more power if you know the laws. It will help you understand the different offenses, you will be able to see which are the more serious and how much punishment your country's system believes they deserve. Who knows, you might get interested and become a lawyer, or a policeman, or a government leader.
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        Dec 5 2013: just as an example, Rodrigo, I wonder which is considered a worse crime in Argentina, pickpocketing, or walking into someone's house through an open door and stealing something?
        • Dec 6 2013: I see your point, and I would indeed do well in checking the laws. Here's a source you can trust regarding crime in Argentina, I guess you could call it my "evidence": https://www.osac.gov/pages/ContentReportDetails.aspx?cid=13554

          Regarding my friend, no, the perpetrator is not out on bail (no money involved). He has been returned to his parents although the judicial authorities have said he is still under their disposal until the investigation is complete and he is found non-guilty.
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        Dec 6 2013: Well, that's an interesting source, Rodrigo. When I went to that source, I tried to see if it would give me a report on the United States (I know, it's an American website), but it would not. I wanted to see how it would describe the one country that I really know, the one where I live, and compare the description to my personal experience.

        Sometimes the reputation a place has might not cohere with your experience. For example, I lived in an area called Westlake, in Los Angeles, for about ten years. It is about a mile west of downtown Los Angeles. It is an area that is about 95% Hispanic (I myself am white), with a very large percentage of "illegal immigrants." People who haven't lived there would tell you it is a very rough area, with a great deal of crime. My experience was different, I found there was some petty crime, particularly graffiti, but generally I felt pretty safe there, and was not the victim of crime. So I sometimes don't trust the reputation a place has.

        One way I stayed safe in Westlake was I hardly ever went out at night, in fact that is my lifestyle, I go to bed very early, about 6 PM, and rise very early, 3AM. Nighttime is the most dangerous and weirdest. Was your friend killed at night?

        So there is camera footage of this person killing your friend? Have you actually seen this footage, perhaps it doesn't show what you think it does? Why would he be found non-guilty if there is film of him committing the crime?

        On the report you linked, I noticed there is less crime in the rural areas of Argentina. What do you think about moving to the country for a less crimeful life, I think country living is the best. Let the city folks tear each other to shreds while you enjoy fresh milk and fine hay?

        In America I believe the police work closely with attorneys, in fact I believe many police stations have an attorney who has an office right within the station.......
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        Dec 6 2013: and this way the police stay very informed on the law, and they can use their knowledge of the law as they fight crime, they can make sure they are staying within the law and upholding the law. I wonder if this is the case in Argentina, perhaps you can find out, and, if it is not the case, push for some change?

        Since I walk a lot, I have been assaulted a few times on the streets of America. One time, after I was assaulted, I read a book on how to be safe on the street. One thing they recommended is, when you are walking, to occasionally do a 180-degree turn to see what is going on behind you and around you. I follow this advice, and I find it helps me feel safer on the street.

        Rodrigo, I have heard that police in United States make a good salary, and that helps account for why our police are relatively uncorrupt. Maybe you should look into how Argentinean police are paid, and compare it to other countries. If you find they are low paid, perhaps you could push for their pay to be increased. But I don't know how that works, if police in the U.S. are well-paid, you would think other countries could pay their police well and would already be doing it, if they are not doing it one would wonder why?
        • Dec 7 2013: I understand exactly what you mean. A few days ago a friend of mine told me she couldn't believe I went back and forth through a certain street with my laptop and that nothing ever happened to me. I never felt unsafe nor have I ever seen any type of crime during business hours in that street.

          My friend was indeed murdered at night. The camera footage is not accessible by civilians, according to a local newspaper it's being "analysed". Moving to the countryside is not an option for me, as I'll go to college and it requires that I'm in the city centre for a great part of the day. Classes can sometimes end at 11 pm. I should clarify: night time here is perceived different than in the USA, most people go to sleep at 11 pm and it's normal for dance clubs to close at 5 in the morning. Night time is very lively here in the city but it's also more dangerous, you don't want to be alone at any given time.

          As far as I know, attorneys don't work with the police here, only prosecutors do and they only show up if a crime occurs and they are needed. The police here don't earn much, nor is their training deep: they barely have self-defence classes and the training lasts about 2 years. They are given equipment but they have to pay for that equipment if it gets stolen, lost or if it's used (police officers buy their own bullets). The police is managed by the state, which doesn't receive much money from the national government (it's rumoured that it's due to political differences despite there being a law that demands a certain amount) so I guess an increase in their salary cannot happen.
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        Dec 7 2013: Yeah, it is a little hard for me to have this conversation with you at a distance, Rodrigo, because I don't live there to even see what the situation is. Possibly you should be having this conversation with the people around you, your family and friends, getting their opinions and trading ideas, since they and you really know the situation.

        Even if it is the trend to go out at night, I would still encourage you to avoid it. You know what they say, if the majority of people walked off a cliff and fell to their death, would you follow them just to be part of the crowd? Going to bed early and rising early is healthy and positive. If noone ever went out at night, it would reduce crime, wouldn't it, and make for a healthier atmosphere?

        Now did you say the film definitely shows a particular person killing your friend? And yet the person will be found "not guilty"? How does that work, is it some kind of political thing, or..........?

        What are you studying at college? How important is it to you? I am 53, I have had many kinds of life experience. I have studied at the finest universities, and have a degree from Stanford, one of the best. But I really do believe the best life is the country life. It is wholesome, and, also, it is interesting, succeeding in agriculture is challenging and intellectually stimulating, would you agree? Do you like to eat, and are you interested in food, if so this might draw you to agriculture. You actually can go to school in agriculture, there are things called "agricultural colleges."

        Rodrigo, I'm going to find out more about how attorneys work with the police here. I had made the statement that some police stations have attorneys working right at the station, but the statement was based on only hearing this as a rumor, and only about one station. I would think attorneys would have to work with the police because the law does change, and the police have to stay abreast of the changes.
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        Dec 7 2013: Now you're saying that political differences are causing the police not to get paid as much? What are these "political differences," and what is the connection to officer pay?

        Possibly, Rodrigo, you should be happy that you don't have a big drug cartel problem in Argentina. Living in southern California, we get a lot of news from Mexico, and it seems they are having real problems with cartels. Part of the blame falls to the United States, as our illegal narcotic demand fuels illicit production in Mexico.

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