Three hundred people attended the party in Miami, but only one witness will idenfity the man who killed two partiers and woulded four others in June, reports the Miami Herald. Police and prosecutors blame a reemerging and troubling trend: ”no snitching.” It’s not just in South Florida. Law enforcement authorities in cities like Baltimore, Newark, and Philadelphia are seeing more and more potential witnesses refuse to testify in violent crime cases. Some do so out of fear; others from peer pressure.
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) introduced legislation this year that would give law enforcement officers and prosecutors $270 million over the next three years to protect potential witnesses. Prosecutors estimate that witness intimidation occurs in 75 to 100 percent of the violent crimes in some gang-dominated neighborhoods, Cummings said. Experts say the power of intimidation, especially by gangs, is a formidable obstacle for law enforcement agencies. ”They get the word out to anyone who might be a potential witness. That can squelch the whole justice process,” said Alfred Blumstein, director of the National Consortium on Violence Research at Carnegie Mellon University.