Futile call for help: murder shocks Romania

A heated discussion about failures of the authorities has broken out in Romania after the murder of a 15-year-old girl. The police were unable to pinpoint the location of the abducted girl using the phone with which she made three emergency calls. Prime Minister Dăncilă has called for harsher punishments and talked of introducing chemical castration. Is this the right response?

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Der Standard (AT) /

Prevention instead of populism

Revenge fantasies won't help but technological solutions will, Der Standard comments:

“The case of this girl who called for help twice on her mobile phone but couldn't be located until it was too late shows what policies should really be aimed at. ... The problem: the Advanced Mobile Location (AML) system for locating callers when an emergency number is used was never fully introduced in Romania. As things stand now you have to install an app. With AML activated the mobile phone automatically activates Wifi and satellite navigation. The data goes straight to the central office and the rescue operation can begin. But instead of focusing on this highly efficient method of crime prevention the government is concentrating on populist referendums for tougher punishment - an insult to those in a crisis situation.”

Gândul (RO) /

Serious politicians don't demand revenge

Promising tougher punishment is the wrong approach, Gândul concurs:

“Showing leadership in this case would mean politicians and opinion shapers providing the public with the right information. Explaining that the death sentence and carrying weapons are not the solution to fighting crime; that changes in the law or big budgets wouldn't help the police in Caracal locate the killer's house and intervene in time; that murder is already punished with life imprisonment and harsher punishment seldom deters criminals.”