Reporting crime

The large scale abuse of the women gymnasts by Larry Nasser has exposed a flaw in the way crimes are reported. Nasser was able to exploit a weakness to abuse a large number of young gymnasts without being arrested or prosecuted, even though many of the victims had complained to their parents and to authorities.

The issue is that a single complaint may not be sufficiently credible for law enforcement action to be taken, but if there are multiple reports which corroborate each other, then it is possible to bring a prosecution.

What would an ideal system look like? To encourage truthful reporting, I suggest an automated system where humans are not given access until a defendant is identified by the system, based on multiple independent reports. The reporting system should be programmed to prompt for relevant details, to allow the computer system to automatically see if there are independent reports which corroborate each other. When the computer system holding the reports identifies a probable crime and a defendant, this information should be automatically published (without identifying information) and police should consider the report and obtain a court order for further investigative action to be taken, and ultimately for a prosecution to be brought.

See also


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