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Turning in criminals is best way to save our community

Miami Times Editorial Department | 12/5/2013, 9 a.m.

Those who have either been incarcerated in jail or prison, as well as those who work in law enforcement, will tell you that the word ‘snitching’ has a negative — if not deadly — connotation particularly when it is employed behind bars. Why? Because to snitch, or to share information about one of your other inmates, can often cost an individual a visit to the prison infirmary or even worse, to the morgue. Thus, criminals claim — and we emphasize the word ‘claim’ — to hold secrets and other information close to heart. It’s like a code of ethics for them. And it’s taken hold in our streets. Just ask any youth about how they view a ‘snitch.’ It won’t be a pretty picture.

However, let the record show that we are members of a free society and are not obligated to live our lives as if we we in lockup at Miami-Dade’s TGK. And we should not be influenced by such tom foolery.

The recent rash of shootings, including the deaths of three youth, 22 years or younger, that took place just last weekend, and other assaults that have taken place in the last few weeks, all point to the importance of changing the way we look at snitching. As one seasoned officer shared during a recent Liberty City town hall meeting, “there is no room in our vocabulary for snitching — we see those who have the courage to come forward as concerned citizens.”

We concur with that officer’s statement. The number of tips that police from various local departments have received over the past few weeks — all leading to the arrests of dangerous gunmen — illustrate the importance and necessity of community involvement and cooperation. Consider what another veteran officer said during the recent Liberty City town hall meeting.

“We often look the other way and ignore what we know about illegal dealings in our community. But let the bullet hit someone you love and then it’s a different story. You then find yourself pleading for someone to come forward with information that will help solve the case.”

Snitching is not a four-letter word. In fact, if we want to save our babies, we need to get the bad folks off of our streets.