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Home >> Solve a Problem >> Crime & Filing a Report
 

Crime & Filing a Report

Bullet Crime Prevention

The Web site of the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office offers valuable advice to prevent crimes targeting seniors:

Home Burglary, Purse Snatch and Avoiding False Friends
Personal Relationship, Caretaker Fraud
Telemarketing Fraud
Fraudulent Charities
Re-Victimizing Fraud Victims
Living Trust Frauds
Pyramid & Ponzi Fraud
Repair Fraud
Health Fraud
Identity Theft
Staged Auto Accidents
Real Estate Fraud

This Web site can be reached at
http://da.co.la.ca.us/seniors/crimes.htm  

You can also find valuable information at the National Consumer League 's National Fraud Information Center.

Bullet Filing a Crime Report

WHERE TO FILE: When a crime is committed, the jurisdiction usually belongs to the location where the crime occurred. Many police departments provide services in Los Angeles County. Our Police Web page will guide you and help you find where you should file your crime report.

WHEN TO FILE: As soon as possible when you become aware that a crime has been committed. Memories and evidence will be fresh. Your credibility will be greater. If filing a police report could place someone in danger, the safety of all involved should be considered before making your decision.

IS THERE A CRIME? When the police responds to your call or you go to the station to file a crime report, the officer will determine whether a crime occurred before writing the report.

The California Penal Code Sections describe the various "elements" needed for an event to be considered a crime. When you describe what happened, the officer is trained to match the event with the appropriate Penal Code Section (often the title of the report) and to insure that the elements are present. The officer then includes in the narrative of the report the details needed to prove that a crime occurred.

You can search the California Penal Code for the latest information. This may help you insure that you mention all relevant details and keep needed evidence.

Elder Abuse is defined in California Penal Code Section 368. The Penal Code Sections or provisions of other codes, which may apply to your situation are too numerous to describe here (see Applicable Laws in this page). A Law Enforcement Officer is trained to determine if a crime occurred and to take a police report.

Bullet Reports to Other Agencies

I reported a crime to Adult Protective Services or to the Ombudsman, should I also file a crime report? ...YES!

Reporting criminal abuse or neglect of an elder or dependent adult can be confusing since several agencies have jurisdiction:

Outside of a nursing home or residential care facility:
Report to Adult Protective Services and/or to local police.
In a Nursing Home:
Report to the Ombudsman and/or to local police.
The licensing agency is the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Health Facilities Division who also investigates. The fact that a violation or citation was issued becomes part of the public record of the facility. You can check this record on the Internet.
In a Residential Care facilty:
Report to the Ombudsman and/or to local police.
The licensing agency is the Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing who also investigates. The fact that a violation or citation was issued becomes part of the public record of the facility.

Although agencies are supposed to cross-report...

Sometimes the cross report is not made;
Documents may get lost;
The original report made to a non-police agency may not have been written with the Penal Code in mind;
This cross-report may not be processed with the same speed or given the same importance as an original police report;
Due to workload and to the fact that a crime may not be evident, the cross report might not be investigated and a police report might never be filed;
The cross-report is not entered into computerized records in a way that permits easy access to the information by other law enforcement agencies (repeat offenders);
The cross-report does not receive a crime report (DR) number and does not subject the investigating agency to the same level of internal accountability as a police report.

If a crime is involved, find the appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction and file a police report.

Bullet What Happens After you File a Crime Report

The crime report is given to a Detective who investigates the matter. Depending on the police department involved and available resources, the investigation may proceed quickly or be slowed down by a significant backlog.

Call the Detective Desk and find out who has been assigned to your case. Contacting the detective will spare him or her the effort of trying to find you and will show that you are interested in your case. Any significant delay or the closing/reject of your case should be explained to you.

Felony cases are sent for review and filing to the District Attorney's Office. Depending on the jurisdiction, misdemeanor cases are handled by the City Attorney or the District Attorney. In the City of Los Angeles, misdemeanors are handled by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office.

Not every case meets the requirements needed for a successful prosecution. A case may be closed/rejected although a problem still exists and a senior is at risk. A complex problem needing the cooperation of several agencies to protect a senior might benefit from a review by the L.A. Metro Multidisciplinary Team for Consultation on Elders at Risk. Go to the L.A. Metro MDT page and review the criteria to see if the team can be of assistance to protect an elder.

Bullet Applicable Laws

California Penal Code Section 368

Elder Abuse is defined in California Penal Code Section 368:
(emphasis added)
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(a) The Legislature finds and declares that crimes against elders and dependent adults are deserving of special consideration and protection, not unlike the special protections provided for minor children, because elders and dependent adults may be confused, on various medications, mentally or physically impaired, or incompetent, and therefore less able to protect themselves, to understand or report criminal conduct, or to testify in court proceedings on their own behalf.

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(b) 
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(1) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult, with knowledge that he or she is an elder or a dependent adult, to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured, or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation in which his or her person or health is endangered, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not to exceed six thousand dollars ($6,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, or in the state prison for two, three, or four years.

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(2) If in the commission of an offense described in paragraph (1), the victim suffers great bodily injury, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 12022.7, the defendant shall receive an additional term in the state prison as follows:
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(A) Three years if the victim is under 70 years of age.

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(B) Five years if the victim is 70 years of age or older.

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(3) If in the commission of an offense described in paragraph (1), the defendant proximately causes the death of the victim, the defendant shall receive an additional term in the state prison as follows:
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(A) Five years if the victim is under 70 years of age.

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(B) Seven years if the victim is 70 years of age or older.

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(c) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions other than those likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult, with knowledge that he or she is an elder or a dependent adult, to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the car or custody or any elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation in which his or her person or health may be endangered, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

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(d) Any person who is not a caretaker who violates any provision of law proscribing theft or embezzlement, with respect to the property of an elder or dependent adult, and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is an elder or dependent adult, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, three, or four years, when the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value exceeding four hundred dollars ($400); and by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, when the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value not exceeding four hundred dollars ($400).

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(e) Any caretaker of an elder or a dependent adult who violates any provision of law proscribing theft or embezzlement, with respect to the property of that elder or dependent adult, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, three, or four years when the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value exceeding four hundred dollars ($400), and by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, when the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value not exceeding four hundred dollars ($400).

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(f) Any person who commits the false imprisonment of an elder or dependent adult by the use of violence, menace, fraud, or deceit is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years.

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(g) As used in this section, "elder" means any person who is 65 years or age or older.

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(h) As used in this section, "dependent adult" means any person who is between the ages of 18 and 64, who has physical or mental limitations which restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his or her rights, including, but not limited to, persons who have physical or developmental disabilities or whose physical or mental abilities have diminished because of age.
"Dependent adult" includes any person between the ages of 18 and 64 who is admitted as an inpatient to a 24-hour health facility, as defined in Sections 1250, 1250.2, and 1250.3 of the Health and Safety code.

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(i) As used in this section. "caretaker" means any person who has the care, custody, or control of, or who stands in a position of trust with, an elder or a dependent adult.

bullet(j) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under both this section and Section 187 or 12022.7 or any other provision of law. However, a person shall not receive an additional term of imprisonment under both paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (b) for any single offense, nor shall a person receive an additional term of imprisonment under both Section 12022.7 and paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (b) for any single offense.

Other Applicable Laws

The Penal Code Sections or provisions of other codes, which may apply to your situation are too numerous to describe here.

Swindle.org offers an extensive directory of elder abuse laws in California with links to the full text for each law.

You can also make a comprehensive search of the 29 Codes in California Law.

 

Inside This Page

Crime prevention
Filing a crime report
I reported a crime to
  Adult Protective Services
  or to the Ombudsman,
  should I also file

  a crime report?
What happens after you
  file a crime report
Applicable laws
Full text of Penal Code
  Section 368 - Elder Abuse
Other laws

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This site was first published in April, 2001.

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