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article imageOp-Ed: Let 2012 be the year of the witness

By KJ Mullins     Jan 1, 2012 in Crime
Toronto - Stepping up and reporting crime is the only way that a city can become safe in modern times. We shout that we want to live in a safe city but if you see a crime do you make sure the police are aware of it?
This morning was spent writing up the little information available on Toronto's first homicide of the year along with various stabbings and shootings that had the police running during the early morning hours. One statement was said over and over by the police at each division I spoke with; no information on suspects.
Violence in the street is nothing new. People doing horrible things to each other has been a problem since mankind existed.
In modern times police often have to rely on evidence at the crime scene in order to track down a killer. That evidence is too often the only thing they have, even when there is a crowd of people who observed the incident. Those crowds will scream for justice but when it comes to letting the police know what they saw back away. Some will say it's reasonable to fear speaking out, the bad guys have guns and will do anything not to face the music of their crimes. Fear though is a plague on the land when it comes to removing criminals from the street.
In Toronto the police understand that fear. They see the emotion in the eyes of those who stay indoors instead of enjoying their neighbourhood parks. They witness the wails of a mother and father whose child is the latest statistic. At every media conference police stress that someone has the key to putting the bad guys away, please call and give that information.
Programs like Crime Stoppers are helping. Crime Stoppers allows witnesses to take a stand without revealing who they are. Calling in tips give the police a starting point in their investigations. The program has helped to catch criminals and prevent crimes from taking place. It's a great start but it's not the finish.
Without viable witnesses that are willing to take on the 'beasts' of crime head on captured criminals can escape through the cracks. It's one thing to arrest someone, it's a totally new ballgame when it comes to keeping them locked up. That's where witnesses come in. Standing up in a court of law and telling what happened keeps the bad guys off the streets.
It's time to let fear be in the hands of those who commit crimes with citizens saying enough is enough, if I see you do wrong I will speak out. Let's make 2012 the year of the witness and not the year of the criminal. Take the stand.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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