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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Police blame 'no snitching' for unsolved murders

From the Sun-Times. It almost brings back a vague recollection of this story...

Chicago Police detectives solved 36 percent of murders committed in Chicago last year -- about the same percentage cleared in 2006.

Of 443 murders committed across the city, 162 -- or 36.6 percent -- were cleared. In 2006, 36.2 were solved.

In addition, detectives working cases from previous years cleared 102 cases, bringing the total number of Chicago murders solved to 264, according to department statistics.

The police cleared 42 percent of murders in 2005 and 47 percent the year before.

The decline comes as the number of homicides is dropping. However, detectives say there are other pressures coming to bear.

Maria Maher, chief of detectives, said many murders here involve gangs and narcotics, a culture not known to be forthcoming with details. "A lot of people will not cooperate with the police because it is not the thing to do," she said.

While detectives say a "criminal's code of honor" has long been around, the "no snitching" culture has become more prominent in recent years, celebrated in rap songs and on T-shirts.

One law enforcement source even had a man escorted out of the Cook County Courthouse at 26th Street over the summer because his T-shirt had a picture of a tombstone along with the words "RIP snitches" and a list of random names.

"They are trying to make it cool to not to talk to the police," said Brian Sexton, supervisor of the Cook County State's Attorney Gang Prosecution Unit. "There is this general distrust of police. Now they are taking it one step further and making it not cool to cooperate."
The police aren't as tough on witnesses as they used to be it seems. If they were determined to prosecute something they'll find away to convince you. A policy is in place that requires police to say that while they would like for a witness to cooperate, they are also free to leave. Then again witnesses were always allowed to leave anyway before this policy was put into place.

A consequence of a decadent culture, I suppose. The concern could be here that otherwise decent law-abiding people might be force by something other than a threat to self to not take information to the police. Whatever it may be and I think that's unfortunate. Let's not mince bones here, talking to the police is risky anyway.

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