How Do False Allegations Change The Perception Of Reported Crimes?

The Newest Of False Allegation Cases Notes The Serious Impact Of Filing A False Report


Dominick D [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]

Photograph of Jussie Smollett taken before allegations were reported.

Victoria Filippi, Chief Editor

While offenders to the law walk amongst us, the fabrication of crimes can be especially deadly to the judicial system. The newest of these cases to hit the press is that of Jussie Smollett, who has maintained his innocence in light of recent evidence uncovered by the Chicago Police Department. Smollett has come under fire after making allegations of allegedly being attacked by two suspects, however, after further investigation, Chicago P.D. believes that the attack was masqueraded by Smollett himself. While Smollett is being prosecuted for making false allegations, he is not the first accused of doing so.

“In my opinion, I would have to say there’s an importance to allegations in general but it is hard to differentiate between a false allegation and an actual allegation. Differentiating between the two can be difficult in some instances because it can be really hard to justify if it is true or not,” junior, Alexander Quevedo, said.

One side-effect of making false allegations is the detriment it can have to the credibility of future victims reporting similar cases. While it may be difficult for victims to be truthful about the attack they faced, others defaming false perpetrators may make victim testimony seem unreliable in court. Future victims may be more hesitant to report future crimes because they believe that law enforcement will not believe them and that their report will not be taken seriously.

“I know that most false allegations, like false rape allegations, are made by people who want to discredit somebody and they’re normally in the small percentage of allegations,” sophomore Arianna Carter, said. “People tend to focus on them more because something in their brain wants to discredit what is happening even if there is only one or a few cases that show that this person made false allegations the rest of them are probably not true to them.”

Another effect of filing false reports is the stigmas that are presented upon victims and whether their crimes are valid. Rape or hate crimes are subjected to this scrutiny immensely because there may be a lack of evidence or that there is underlying prejudice. Hate crimes are crimes that are defined as targeting specific individuals due to identification culturally or personally. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ellen Page, regards that no matter the outcome of Smollett’s case hate crimes are undoubtedly apparent and should not be dismissed.

“I ask you not to question our pain, not to draw into question our trauma, but to maintain, wholeheartedly, that hate violence exists,” Page said. “The merits of one case should not and cannot call that into question. The media coverage does not convey the reality and totality of the cruelty and danger we face. This is the story that must be told.”

When the police department responds to false crimes it can endanger the welfare of suspects and put them in unperceivable danger. Likewise, this may defame the character of said suspects and their reputations may seem less credible to their families and future employers.

“I know it can badly ruin a person’s life, it’s definitely a touchy subject because there are people who don’t have enough evidence when it actually happened but there are people who do it for attention, so it can destroy people’s lives,” sophomore, William Potter, said.

While false sexually charged crimes occupy only 2 to 10 percent of crimes illegally filed under this category according to a report by the National Sexual Violence Research Center these are enough to change the perception of victims who have been assaulted. Although Smollett has not been convicted, the destructive effects of his prosecution can change the scope of reporting hate crimes. Victims whose testimonials are credible may face revictimization in the court or by the justice system because their accusation may not be believed. Comparatively, a distrust for law enforcement may also be forged as victims may believe that detectives harbor personal opinions against them and take their reports with a grain of salt. However establishing the connection between law enforcement and victims can lead to further reports, arrests, and convictions; which gives the victim recognition under the law and justice for the perpetrator.

“Now in our time many of these situations depends on that, (the statistic) it’s really opinionative, where one person believes one thing and someone else believes another,” Quevedo, said.