Criminal Culture Making Police Work Difficult

Monday, April 30th 2007, 9:26 pm
By: News On 6

Code of street criminals are making it tougher to crack down on crime. Don’t snitch is the warning on the streets, and News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports that attitude has now moved from the streets into popular culture.

Songs, videos and clothing proclaim, ‘Don't snitch!’

Police say without information, it's tough to cut down on crime. They point to three types of people who refuse to cooperate, those who don't want the hassle of getting involved, those who are genuinely scared and those who won't help, even if their relative is murdered.

A dozen people were recently shot in Tulsa's Crawford Park when someone fired a gun from a car and another person fired from the park with both a 9-milimeter and a shotgun. Yet, with 200 people there, police can't get anyone to admit they saw anything.

"I feel like there are people in the community that know information about the shootings at Crawford Park that are not coming forward," said Tulsa Police Sergeant Van Ellis.

Police believe that because officers found crime scene photos posted on MySpace pages, one has a caption that says, "D'lone took one for the team." They've also found photos of the recent riot at Morning Star apartments, even though no one is talking about who did what, that night, either.

"In too many instances, it's just somebody not wanting to cooperate with police, or being feared of being labeled a snitch when the appropriate label is being a good citizen and making the community safe," Ellis said.

The same was true when an 18-year-old was shot inside a crowded downtown club known as the Ministry, now called UV. It took police weeks to get any leads, even though hundreds of witnesses were right there.

"Funny, the person most agreeable to talk was the suspect after we arrested him," said Tulsa Police Sergeant Mike Huff.

Police say it happens all the time, and cases that should take a week to wrap up now takes months, all because the don't snitch attitude is no longer a criminal mindset, it's become fashionable.

Officers fear the long term consequences.

"It is leading toward lawlessness, and when people don't stand up and do the right thing that person who did one shooting may do another and another," Huff said.

Police say an entire criminal mentality is now shown as something to admire in music, videos and on the internet. They say that lifestyle thrives on conflict and drama, and when none exists kids create it, at places like schools and public events. The gang sergeant has a term for it, drama at the speed of light. He says parents shouldn't be in denial and tell themselves, oh, he's not a gang member, he's just a wanna be. Police have another saying, wanna be’s are gonna be’s.

Watch the video: "Don't Snitch" Creating Problems For Police

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