At the root of nearly half the unsolved killings in Oklahoma City within the last year is a culture of intimidation that discourages witnesses from cooperating with police, officials told the Oklahoman. They say young people are encouraged through the popular culture to “stop snitching,” and passersby, are simply less likely to put themselves at risk for the sake of a stranger. A national police advocacy group found that 78 percent of participating departments cited a decreased willingness of witnesses to testify, and 45 percent reported a drop in solved cases.
Roughly half said the active encouragement of young people to not cooperate with law enforcement is the source of the problem. A little more than half said there is an informal code of silence. Only 14 percent were unaware of an existing code of silence. About 80 percent said the silence is enforced by implicit threat and gestures, while 63 percent said it is enforced by explicit threats. As violent crime has sunk to historic lows in the last decade, the FBI reports homicide clearance rates also have been sinking–now at 60 percent nationally.