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Is It Wrong to Tempt People Into Breaking The Law? Entrapment

Updated on September 26, 2011

Setting a Trap

A few years ago, when our police officers were on the streets to help the citizen, it was against the law for them to entrap people into committing a crime;. Now, on television almost every night we can watch as law enforcement uses bait cars to entice people into stealing a car. We can watch on cops as they do what they call stings, and the police pose as hookers or allow people to steal boxes out of the back of a truck that appears to have broken down in the worst of neighborhoods.

To me, this feels wrong and unethical. How are we going to coax a poor person into stealing something, and then put them in jail for actually taking it? To me, this seems like a crime in itself. I think if you set a juicy enough trap a person could tempt a priest into taking something that he might need.

For the police to set up a trap like this, he must himself think like a thief. Once he thinks like a thief, that is about half of the crime, is it not? I believe they call this type of thinking and discussions around this type of thinking, conspiracy. It is possible in the state of California to think about doing a crime and actually go to jail before you act the crime out, on conspiracy charges. There are very small steps between thinking about doing a crime, planning on doing it and actually beginning to act on doing it.

Conspiring to do a wrong, is the thinking it out and planning it part of it. It is the part of the crime that allows law enforcement to show intent. But I ask you, was it not said to us as kids that to think about doing something, isn't wrong until you act on it. I know I was told that, but this is not true for adults in our society today/

The bait car setup is the one that I am going to use as an example right now. The detectives have to not only leave the car open and the key available, but they go a lot farther when they pretend to arrest the driver in front of a group of people, allowing them to think, tricking them really into thinking that the car has been left hanging open with computers, stereos, and other items inside, as well as the keys. How far is too far in planning to trick a person into thinking that this is a perfect setting to get away with stealing this car?

It is Hard to Realize the Difference

These schemes are so involved sometimes, because they must first of all use a car that is mechanically corrected to trap the thief, that I feel the police go a lot farther in the planning and the thought going into trapping this thief, then the thief himself must think about actually committing the crime. Who is really doing the conspiring in these cases?

Not only is law enforcement going that extra country mile into causing this crime to take place, but I believe they are also practicing profiling, and are taking advantage of the problems the poor people in our society have when they put these large prizes in front of them, allowing, no not allowing but rather causing them to think about how their life would change if only they had this expensive stuff in their life.

If you stop and consider whether or not this person would have broken the law if this trap had not been set in front of them that day, the chances are that this person very likely would have done something else with his afternoon had this thought of doing wrong had not been planted and made so easy.

This causing to make a crime take place is wrong and should be against the law. These law enforcement people should be the ones to do some time, considering that they spent quite a few hours at least into making it happen.

I know if I spent that much time and effort into making a crime take place, I would go to jail. The poor person did make a bad decision, but did not the police officer also make some bad decisions when he planned the whole thing?

When they put female officers under cover on the street as prostitutes, are they not pretending to break the law? What would happen to the average citizen who did the same thing? Again, the person who's job it is to maintain the law unbroken, is by intent causing it to be broken themselves, for if they had not been on the corner, appearing to be looking for a man, would that man have broken the law? Would that thought of paying the prostitute have even entered his mind, or is it possible that he would have just driven down the street, gone to the store, and gone home without doing anything. I believe that causing the law to be broken is wrong. Entrapping the people in our communities into breaking the law is not what they are put there to do, it is supposed to be their job to protect and serve us, not tempt us into doing the wrong thing.;

It almost feels as though the police are becoming lazy in doing their job, for it seems like causing a law to be broken and then arresting the person is the lazy way of catching a thief. Can they not do their jobs correctly and find a crime that was committed, and then by using their training, finding clues and the person who left the clues, and thereby solving a crime, a real crime, not a crime that they half helped the thief commit. It is pretty easy to know who did it when they were there helping when the crime was committed.


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  • ddsurfsca profile image

    ddsurfsca 6 years ago from ventura., california

    I think that the police would do far better to spend their time looking for the guy who has kidnapped the girl for 18 years, or the one who is trying to get our kids over the internet. Let the criminals commit the crime before they put him in jail. I believe that there is the chance that those people who take the bait, might not commit a crime that day if it had not been presented to them in an enticing way. I would like the police to work the right way for their paychecks, not tempt people into doing wrong.

  • banjodman profile image

    banjodman 6 years ago from Alabama

    If you cause your neighbour to sin are you not committing an equal sin? When the law breaks the law then there is no law..Billy Jack..:)

  • 34th Bomb Group profile image

    34th Bomb Group 6 years ago from Western New York State

    I think you are approaching this problem - I, personally don't think it's a problem - from the criminal's point of view.

    One thing really stood out to me, and that was the conspiracy count. Here, New York, the poor, innocent thinker cannot be charged with conspiracy - he must "act in furtherance of the crime."

    Also, wouldn't you like to stop a crook from continuing his criminal behavior which only hurts innocent people? If we can nab them BEFORE they commit another crime, i.e. theft of merchandise, drug dealing, food stamp fraud, etc., wouldn't you agree this is far better than allowing them free rein and hope we're in the right place at the right time to see them do it?

    I don't understand your logic - but that's coming from a 30 year Investigator/Prosecutor.

    Very well written, by the way. I just don't agree with you. Well done.