[EDITORIALS]Protect the victims of crime

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[EDITORIALS]Protect the victims of crime

Witnesses who have provided information or reported crimes to investigative agencies are being left vulnerable to retaliatory attacks without protection from the authorities.
According to a report prepared by the National Police Agency for the annual National Assembly inspection, there were 2,454 reported cases of retaliatory crimes during the first nine months of this year. There were 2,634 such cases reported last year.
The list of the reported retaliatory crimes committed this year included 2,241 cases of physical assault. Robbery and rape followed with 60 and 18 cases, respectively, making informants and witnesses fearful. There was even a case in a provincial city in August where a man suspected of physical assault clubbed the alleged victim, who reported him to the police, to death after being released by the police. There have been 60 cases of retaliatory murder so far this year and this brings us to seriously question the effectiveness of the police in preventing such retaliatory attacks.
The government enacted a law in June 2000 protecting informants who report particular crimes, such as drug-related crimes, homicide, sexual assault, robbery and organized crime. Since the enactment of this law, however, only 28 cases and a total of 59 persons were placed on the protection list by the prosecutors’ offices around the country. Among these, the prosecutors requested police protection on behalf of only one case. This must be considered a serious neglect of the informants on the part of the government agencies.
Such circumstances make people reluctant to inform the police of any crimes in which they have been victims or witnesses. The rate of reporting crime in our country is 23 percent, a ridiculously low number that is 50 to 60 percent lower than in Britain or France.
In order to solve crime, we need the cooperation of victims and witnesses as well as scientific investigation. Just recently, reporting by a civilian played a key role in the apprehension of a suspect in the murder of two police officers. The police should provide a systematic measure of protection so that citizens can report crimes without any fear of retaliation. The implementation of a separate division that supports victims of crimes could be an alternative. In addition, the authorities could also support the rehabilitation of victims through working with non-profit civic groups.
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