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OpinionCentral: Stop “Stop Snitching”

No, I’m not repeating myself in that headline. It’s time to directly confront the “Stop Snitching” mindset that’s pervasive in our community.

I’m doing that direct confronting right here. Now, it’s up to Danville’s elected and community leaders to take a strong stand to do the same thing.


Do you recognize that phone number? I do. I’ve read it out over the air when I was doing TV newscasts. It appears on almost every Danville Police Department press release.

Have you ever dialed that phone number? I have. About four years ago, I had a strong suspicion that drug activity was going on in my neighborhood. And what do you know, I was right about that. It turned into a shooting situation. I’ll never forget that night.

It’s the phone number to Danville Crime Stoppers, folks. It’s totally anonymous and if your tip leads to an arrest and conviction, you may be eligible for a cash reward. Yeah. Cash. The fund is replenished by donations and managed by a board of directors. Did I mention it was totally anonymous?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with calling Danville Crime Stoppers and telling anything that you may know about a crime that’s happened, any reasonable suspicions that you may have about illegal activity, or something you may have seen that “just wasn’t right”. The tips are all reviewed by law enforcement and the investigators don’t know the source of the information that you give them. They’ll evaluate them and then act on the ones that have some credibility. That’s how police work goes, folks.

There’s a sizable part of the community that lives in fear of retribution if the criminal elements finds out about any cooperation with law enforcement. That’s understandable, but that fear is eliminated with an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers. Yeah, it’s that anonymous. Nobody will ever know that you made the call to Crime Stoppers. Nobody will ever know that your call prompted police to make extra patrol rides through your neighborhood. Nobody will know that your call helped make those extra patrol rides let a police officer notice suspicious behavior that leads to arrests and convictions. Yeah, that’s an ideal example and I know that’s not going to be the outcome in every Crime Stoppers call… but you get my point.

There’s a sizable part of the community that believes that calling Crime Stoppers is “snitching” and against the code of the streets. That’s wrong and it’s time to confront that mindset directly.

We’ve had a “Stop The Violence” march. It hasn’t stopped the violence. We’ve had a “Cease Fire” rally. The fire hasn’t ceases. And here’s why. The people who do the violence and the killing don’t go to those types of marches and rallies. You’re preaching to the choir… and that choir is us. We’re the people who don’t commit violence and don’t kill people.

We just had a great “Community & Law Enforcement Partnership Day” event. Let’s take the momentum of that event and start getting a real partnership with law enforcement. Let’s directly address the “No Snitching” mindset and take it on.

  • SouthsideCentral calls on all nine Danville city councilmen to start making statements about Danville Crime Stoppers and that it’s socially acceptable to use the phone number.
  • SouthsideCentral calls on Danville Public Schools & the school board to start an initiative plastering the middle and high schools with the Danville Crime Stoppers phone number and how the service is truly anonymous.
  • SouthsideCentral calls on the Danville Register & Bee to write an editorial praising the Danville Crime Stoppers program and encouraging the end of the “No Snitching” mindset.
  • SouthsideCentral calls on local radio & TV stations (WSET, WDBJ, WSLS) to do feature stories on Danville Crime Stoppers that show how the program makes a difference.
  • SouthsideCentral calls on the Boys & Girls Club to promote Danville Crime Stoppers as part of their strong police cooperative effort.
  • SouthsideCentral calls on Star News to do programs condemning the “No Snitching” mentality and to endorse the use of Danville Crime Stoppers.
  • SouthsideCentral calls on the local branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to hold a meeting/press conference to condemn the “No Snitching” mindset and endorse Danville Crime Stoppers.
  • SouthsideCentral calls on the Danville Ministerial Alliance to organize a worship day where “No Snitching” is directly mentioned and condemned in every pastor’s church.

If any of these calls to action are put into motion, they’re going to make a lot of people uncomfortable. Some of them will probably get mad, but that’s the way you get unacceptable mindsets to change. I’m starting my part on this effort by publishing this editorial. Let’s see how many others will join this campaign.

By the way; if you don’t trust the police, that’s your personal issue and a subject for a different editorial. But even that’s no excuse for not making a call to Danville Crime Stoppers and giving information to get criminals off the streets.

Stop the “Stop Snitching” mindset. Stop “Stop Snitching”. If we can do that, things will get better quickly.


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