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09

Feb

-Do you think hip-hop strengthens the code of the street “no snitching” in the inner city community? In the suburbs?

-What are some other factors that could possibly lead to such a strong adherence to the code of the street/no snitching policy.

-What would YOU do? You live in Harlem, New York with your family or someone close to you. You witness a murder in your neighborhood, a man from a gang kills another man. Would you tell the police what you saw? 
Keep in mind…
-You don’t trust the police. There has been history of the police not providing proper protection for informants.
-You fear what the gang may do to you or your loved ones.

08

Feb

''Snitches End Up in Ditches'' and Other Cautionary Tales (Scholarly)

“Snitches get Stiches”, “Stop Snitching”, or “Snitches End Up in Ditches” are all different street code expressions that correspond to the same meaning. These expressions are a part of the code of the street and are used to discourage witnesses from revealing any information that will help authorities convict or punish the criminal. The research done by Edward Morris, found that this code has infiltrated the school systems and students have begun to abide by this rule inside and outside of school. Students believe that it is more respectful to handle their own problems rather than snitching. Students made several statements displaying their stance on snitching, “You don’t want to do that [snitch] because it comes back to you in a negative way” or “Even if you’re gonna get your ass kicked, it’s still wrong. You just don’t snitch! It’s not the way to handle things. You don’t snitch!” These quotes demonstrate that snitching is not acceptable and is not a viable option for handling problems. The mantra “snitches get stiches” is a large part of the code of the street, and the article by Edward W. Morris supports our view point that the phenomenon promotes violence and directly affects school climate.

Morris looked at two low income high schools, Woodrow Wilson and Clayton and his findings were in line with our position that the “stop snitching” phenomenon promotes violence in several ways, the first being that adequate conflict resolution cannot occur. If an incidence occurs between two people at Woodrow Wilson or Clayton the students feel that it is more appropriate to handle the problem themselves then to call on authorities. Instead of having authorities such as the police or a principal step in, students rather fight to try to settle the matter. This however becomes problematic when more serious situations arise, such as theft or abuse. Instead of an authority figure stepping in and helping the two parties solve the resolution, the problem usually goes unresolved, even if they fight. Most likely one party will still be unresolved and will retaliate later.

Secondly the “stop snitching” phenomenon promotes further violence because a snitch will most likely suffer violent consequences from snitching. Morris interviewed Kaycee and she stated, “Right. Yeah, everyone knows that snitches end up in ditches”. The students realize that authorities are usually unable to prevent them from being beat up or killed. They are physically safer by keeping quiet, even if it doesn’t prevent violence in general.

“Snitches get Stiches”, “Stop Snitching”, or “Snitches End Up in Ditches” is a Catch-22 problem. Students and non-students are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. It is vital that people who have authority come up with a creative solution to solve this “no snitching” problem. If nothing is fixed we will continue to see this code of the street affect our neighborhoods and our schools.

07

Feb

Stop Snitching – A Street Code (Poem)

We help aid the bullets that’s passing through our people

Then bury our dead as we stare up past the Steeple,

And wonder why violence gives death another sequel

A hypocrite preaching bout a better tomorrow

But asking yesterday for its mistakes to borrow

Street Credibility the foundation to your sorrow

The bodies racking up is getting harder to swallow

Now let me ask you if that makes sense? Cause I see a lot of ya’ll sitting to repent

behind the fence, but none of ya’ll know where the shooter went? That philosophy is

pure crap like the 100 percent –

Dope – where all the hood’s money’s being spent

SO – stop asking where the Love went

You already know,

The love is buried in the grave next to the seeds that you sow

Buried next to the violence you’ve inspired to grow

Dying next to a river of lies that’s over flown

 You think it’s brave to keep quiet but that’s really for the cowards.

It takes courage to speak up, it takes strength and true power

You’re solidarity falls faster than the petals in a flower

Rotted in the wrong season, wrong time, in winter hours

So uhm..yeah stop snitchin? That mindset is straight weak

So stay back with the punks, sit down and don’t speak

Forget Dr. King, The Obamas, and his speech

Cause honestly…true valor is far out of your reach

In this poem, author Chiamaka Ukachukwu speaks her mind about the hypocrisy of the no snitching code. She’s directing her judgment towards individuals who detest violence in their neighborhoods but refuse to speak up when they see it happening. Chiamaka argues that they’re helping aid killings by not snitching. She notes that street credibility is the reason for keeping the code, however this is not a good enough excuse. You cannot complain about the violence that occurs if you’re not doing anything to stop it. Chiamaka labels no snitching as a way to continue the violence.

            I agree with Chimaka’s argument to some extent. Yes, no snitching is one of the reasons why violence occurs. However, labeling the people who refuse to snitch as cowards is not always necessarily true. Although street credibility is a large part of why the code exists, some may fear of the consequences of snitching. Chiamaka seems to be making a case for the decent people, the ones who don’t fully subscribe to the code but know how to use it for survival. 

06

Feb

See No Evil: Wrongful Convictions and the Prosecutorial Ethics of Offering Testimony by Jailhouse Informants and Dishonest Experts (Scholarly)

The code of the street is an unwritten rulebook within urban areas, each dictating what one must do to be able to survive within the neighborhood. Each set of rules of course differ from region to region, but one rule that is universal is no snitching; if you witness any type of crime, you’re simply not supposed to tell. The police as well as investigators try to fight this rule by offering incentives; a cash reward or a reduced sentence if you’re convicted of a crime, related to the person you’re snitching on or not. This sounds like a brilliant idea, but the problem is that persons that are in jail will still subscribe to the code of the street and give false information, which leads to wrong convictions and dead end leads.


Why does this affect the youth so tremendously? Well in twenty-three states there is no minimum age, three states that consider teens at least sixteen as adults, and ten states that consider teens aged seventeen as adults (National Council on Crime and Delinquency), it is easier than ever to be tried and convicted as an adult, before you ever become one. Gang related activity has become the reason for about 80% of crimes in communities across the nation, and it is also reported that twenty-seven percent of public school students age 12 to 17 say that their school has gangs within it or close (National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XV). With this in mind, a lot of the crime committed by gangs can be solved reaching out to teens, whether in school or not. But with this the code of the street employed within prisons across America, wherein some already convicted teens give investigators false information, it is extremely difficult to not only significantly lower the crime rate in the communities as well as in the schools.


So what are the possible solutions to this problem? I think the only way to create any change in the current trend is to attack it at its source. The code of the street was created by the members of the urban community, and then advertised through the media. The incentives that police and other enforcement have created don’t work because members of the urban community won’t find credibility from members of the decent community. I feel the only effective way to make the change in the amount of crime, which is mostly caused by gangs, is to begin at the source, meaning “snitching” has to be seen as a good thing, that it’s good to stop crime, by someone who is from the urban community. Also the threat of snitching, which is getting hurt or killed by the person you snitched on, has to be resolved. I feel that while a high percentage of people don’t snitch because it’s against the code of the street, the rest of the people only follow the code because of the repercussions that may follow. If police work in that aspect of the issue, while leaving the advertising of the positive effects of snitching to members of the urban environment, then eventually this trend will work its way into the prisons, which will in turn allow the many that give up the opportunity to have their sentence reduced will be more inclined to help catch offenders on the outside.

With snitching being seen as one of the biggest taboos in urban communities, it’s no surprise the it has reached prisons; because while decent people may not agree with the code, it is imperative that when amongst members of the urban community, you following the code is a matter of survival, not just being in with the in-crowd. The only possible solution is to try to solve the problem at it source using its resources; the people of the urban community.

05

Feb

You’re not going to snitch, therefor I own you.
 This cartoon clearly sets up a scenario where an older man kills someone and two younger boys refuse to snitch on him. Both the two younger boys and the man who has just committed murder are wearing “Don’t Snitch” shirts representing this common code of the street they subscribe to. The quote “Now that’s a good little ho!” in response to the younger boy’s acknowledgement of the code to pretend like he didn’t see anything demonstrates the power that the no snitching code is giving people who commit crimes.            The word ho, as in prostitute, and the way it was used in this context has many connotations. In a pimp and ho relationship, the ho is subordinate, powerless, and stereotypically fears the pimp. The statement is also something you would say to an animal or younger child when they have followed the rules, therefore belittling the younger boy in the scenario.. Also, there’s a sense of ownership portrayed in the illustration as if the man is saying “I own you just like a pimp owns a prostitute. You fear me, therefore I control your action not to snitch.” This cartoon symbolizes the powerlessness witnesses face due to the code of the street no snitching. Because people who have committed crimes hold such power knowing they won’t get caught since according to the code witnesses will not come forward, this continues the cycle of violence.

You’re not going to snitch, therefor I own you.

This cartoon clearly sets up a scenario where an older man kills someone and two younger boys refuse to snitch on him. Both the two younger boys and the man who has just committed murder are wearing “Don’t Snitch” shirts representing this common code of the street they subscribe to. The quote “Now that’s a good little ho!” in response to the younger boy’s acknowledgement of the code to pretend like he didn’t see anything demonstrates the power that the no snitching code is giving people who commit crimes.
            The word ho, as in prostitute, and the way it was used in this context has many connotations. In a pimp and ho relationship, the ho is subordinate, powerless, and stereotypically fears the pimp. The statement is also something you would say to an animal or younger child when they have followed the rules, therefore belittling the younger boy in the scenario.. Also, there’s a sense of ownership portrayed in the illustration as if the man is saying “I own you just like a pimp owns a prostitute. You fear me, therefore I control your action not to snitch.” This cartoon symbolizes the powerlessness witnesses face due to the code of the street no snitching. Because people who have committed crimes hold such power knowing they won’t get caught since according to the code witnesses will not come forward, this continues the cycle of violence.

04

Feb

"Star & Buc Wild" Shock Jock Troi Torain Wants You to Start Snitching (Popular)

In an article found in the Philadelphia weekly, a former local radio personality is campaigning for everyone to “start snitching”. According to the article, Troi Torrain (Star from the Star and Buckwild show) is infuriated with the urban culture street code to “not snitch”. “It’s a culture of ignorance that protects these little animals for no good reason except for some ‘keepin it real bullshit’.”

Torrain’s frustration was propelled by a murder of a 20-year-old man that occurred on May 2, 2010. According to the article, a confrontation had occurred while the young man was hanging out with some friends. A bullet was fired into the man’s chest and he was dead within an hour. Unfortunately, this man’s killer is now walking the streets free because the PPD detectives were not able to gain enough evidence to charge him. Two of the man’s friends saw what happened, but refused to tell the police. Losing her only son, the victim’s mother’s grief is exacerbated knowing that the killer of her son is a free man.

According to police reports, there were 324 murders in Philadelphia in 2011, and the percentage of murders that were solved dropped from 70 percent to 60 percent. According to the article, the Philadelphia Police Department have been spending three decades trying to convince the youth to tell if they see something; however, it appears that their rants continue to fall on deaf ears The street code is understood that if you snitch then you’re liable to face deadly consequences, and this is something that most are not willing to contend to.

I applaud Torrains’s efforts in campaigning against a street code that perpetuates violence.  Unfortunately, it is a sad affair to see a mother lose her son to street violence, and to make matters worse, to deal with the code of silence so fervently acknowledged by many community members. However, there is another perspective that has not quite been analyzed. This urban social realization was not something that was made up by the community for the sake of “keeping it real”. Its origin has its roots in an unjust system that creates these social constructs in the community. In this case, it is a matter of mistrust of the people who the system appoints to protect and serve. This concept was clarified by a local Philadelphia resident who attests “The fear factor is very real. Police let you fend for yourself after they get the information they need, I’ve known people who’ve tried to do the right thing, and they end up getting killed.”

             As you can see, the code of the streets is not just a matter of cultural idiosyncrasies that have been conjured up for the sake of social identity. It is a matter of survival in a realm that is perceived as aggressive and brutal. “Every man for himself”. In order to determine a solution, one must consider the foundation of this paradigm. If its origin is rooted in the disparities of a social construct, then that’s where we should address the solution. This includes:  policy makers, mayoral administration, and of course, the police department. Unfortunately, these codes are deep rooted in the psyche of this culture and change will not occur until these people feel they are not isolated from the rest of society.  Until then, the stop snitching culture of silence will continue to reign causing more and more violence to occur since perpetrators are protected by the code.

03

Feb

Harlem, New York

Harlem, New York

02

Feb

The Rules of Snitching. (Popular)

The Code of the Streets is the prevalent code of behavior for urban areas and includes many different rules for surviving in areas that the government has long ago deemed hopeless. One of the most important rules of behavior is the no snitching policy. There are many caveats to the no snitching policy but the startling effect it has on violence in these neighborhoods cannot be overlooked. In 2007, an African-American male in Philadelphia was more likely to die a violent death than a United States soldier was to die on the battlefields of Iraq.The no snitching policy encourages violence in poor neighborhoods by not holding people accountable for their actions.

No snitching, as a rule, has many sub-rules and exceptions. For example, it is socially acceptable to report child molestation, sexual assault, and a man beating a woman or child. In most circumstances, it is acceptable to call the police to report a shooting or homicide. However, if that shooting or homicide is in any way connected to you then the shooting should not be reported. This way no illicit business on the side will be discovered if and when the police do show up.

One of the reasons that the no snitching policy has developed is because of the unpredictability of the police force. Sometimes the police do not show up right away. Other times their presence serves to escalate the situation higher. And the police will admit that there are times that they feel the situation is futile and they know that even if they take down one team of drug dealers, another will be out on the corner in a few hours. To the people living in these areas it seems that they have a choice to deal with people they have known for years and live right next door to or trust “foreign invaders” of sorts, of whose actions they can never be certain.

This lack of trust in the establishment leads to other aspects of the no snitching policy as well. Witnesses of crimes are often pressured by the policy to keep what they know secret and let it be dealt with by the street code and not the establishment. People who do come forward do so with large risk to themselves and their families. Others who come forward may do so to put themselves ahead. These people are looking for a reward for their information, whether that is a reduced sentence, money, or in an attempt to put a rival out of business.

The no snitching policy is complex and has different meanings on different levels. The important thing to notice is that no snitching is started by the situation that the adherents to the code find themselves in. Therefore, changing their situation appears to be the only way to go against the policy and have it eliminated. That would be an excellent start to stopping the cycle of violence in our society.

17

Jan

Introduction

Our stand on the issue of school violence is the code of the street perpetuates violence in schools. For our research, we focused on one popular code: no snitching. No snitching, in the most simplest terms, means if you see a crime committed you don’t tell anyone especially authority such as the police or school faculty. We argue that since people do not snitch when violent acts are committed, the cycle of violence will continue to perpetuate.