a scene of disturbance

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Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
When I was in the police service, for instance, they taught us that when you go to a scene of disturbance or a scene of rioting, you identify the ring leaders and you aim at their knees and shoot them.


Is "a scene of disturbance" confined to any kind of disorder/fighting? Would you say "thefting" or "a murder" a scene of disturbance?
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    Senior Member
    American English
    I would say that a disturbance is something that disrupts public order. This could be a fight or a confrontation between two groups or a violent protest – I do not think of theft or individual murder, however looting or violence causing widespread injury and/or death would qualify.

    Normally, we would say "the scene of a disturbance," using an article (a/the) for disturbance.


    Senior Member
    English English
    We actually have a crime in the UK called disturbing the peace. It covers a wide range of activities including:
    creating loud noise by fighting or challenging to fight, disturbing others by loud and unreasonable noise (including loud music), or using offensive words or insults likely to incite violence
    I certainly wouldn't call murder or theft/robbery/mugging disturbances.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I certainly wouldn't call murder or theft/robbery/mugging disturbances. but I think the police force might well use that term.

    "The [scene of the] disturbance" seems to be useful if the police do not want to (i) give too much information away, and/or (ii) have not yet decided if it is, for example, a suicide, fatal accident, manslaughter, or murder."

    e.g. "The police removed a body from the scene of the disturbance, a flat in Wanchai Road, and one person, believed to be a man, is helping with enquiries."


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I would only expect a theft (note that the word "thefting" does not exist) or a murder to be connected to the phrase "the scene of the disturbance" if the police were responding to some kind of tumult or breach of peace, and the theft or murder were discovered subsequently.

    The police received a call that a loud argument was taking place in an apartment on Kowloon Street. Upon arriving at the scene of the disturbance, the police discovered five dead bodies and a heroin smuggling warehouse.
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