Boston homicide detectives have taken on an unusual new role, reaching out to the public at community forums with a simple message: trust us. The police seem to be addressing both the “Don’t Snitch” phenomenon and attempting to counteract what has been called the “CSI Effect,” after the television show that often uses high-tech plot twists to solve crimes. At a recent library forum, Thomas Lee, who heads the Boston police homicide unit, said solving homicides takes old-fashioned police work: finding witnesses. “We find a witness, we walk up and knock on their door,” he said. “Just like they did in the 1800s.”
The Boston Globe said Lee and his detectives have been attending such forums since January. The department has realized that a unit that depends on public cooperation to solve crimes cannot be hidden. Last week, Lee and several officers he supervises as commander of the Criminal Investigation Division went to Dorchester for the monthly meeting of the Community Improvement Association. Most of the people gathered were middle-age and elderly residents, who listened quietly. “The reality is most cases are solved by you, the public,” Lee told them. He urged his listeners not to be afraid to come forward.