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The Sound of Ideas

The ‘No Snitch’ Culture

Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2007

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Life is imitating art in cities all over North America. The hip-hop mantra "stop snitchin" has become a real movement. In their rhymes, MC's like Ice Cube and Li'l Wayne say talking to law enforcement is a death sentence. Hip-hopper Cam'ron even told 60 minutes there's never any reason to say anything more than "what's up?" to a peace officer. In Akron, a 17-year-old decided he'd rather go to prison than give evidence in court. The upshot? An accused killer was set free. It's not just Ohio, of course. The anti-snitch culture is alive and well in places as far afield as Denver and Toronto. And of course, it's not unique to hip-hop culture. Police forces famously have their own unspoken code of conduct: some refer to it as the thin blue line. But with the homicides in the city of Cleveland topping a hundred this month and so many of them going unsolved, the stakes seem to have gotten higher. So, is the code of the streets more of a deterrent than the penal code? If it is, what can be done? We'll talk about the 'no-snitch' culture Tuesday morning at nine.


Government/Politics, Community/Human Interest, Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement, Ethics/Religion, Parenting/Child Care


Khalid Samad, Peace in the 'Hood
Charles See, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry
Bob Dyer, columnist, The Akron Beacon Journal

Additional Information

Read about Philadelphia's crime problem and how Kansas City solved theirs.

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