As everyone knows, Chicago had the highest murder rate in the US with over 500 homicides in 2012 alone and almost 15 in the New Year. The city is even being compared to Iraq (the hashtag #Chiraq is taking off on Twitter). So, what is Chicago's plan to stop the escalating murder rate? Superintendent McCarthy is thinking of getting celebrities to come out in support of snitching.
"Celebrities for Snitching" sounds like the poster child idea for the adage "Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures," but if Derrick Rose, from the Chicago Bulls, destigmatizing snitching (perhaps by using a new word) stops the murder rate from rising, then this new policy has my support. However, it is important to address why people do not cooperate with the police in the first place.
Firstly, these shootings are happening almost solely in black and brown neighborhoods. What is and has been the police's relationship with black and brown people? One can say it's almost predatory. Look at how many minorities get pulled over compared to their white counterparts. The Chicago Police Department is expecting people in these high-risk neighborhoods to just trust them despite the history they have with them. It doesn't work like that. They have to build that trust.
The second point stems from the previous one I just made, and it is that if there's no trust, that means the people in those neighborhoods don't feel protected. How does that saying go "Snitches get Stitches"? If people were to come forward with intimate information to the police, they are putting themselves and their families at risk with no promise of protection. That's a huge risk for them. Albeit a huge risk with the possibility of the huge reward of less crime in their neighborhood.
Yes, getting people kids look up to say it's okay to tell the police when something is going wrong will help our current situation, but it needs to be paired with initiatives by the CPD to change their image in the neighborhoods where these shootings are occurring. That will create long-lasting positive change rather than a great photo opportunity.