07/21/10 — 'Not my problem': Those who keep silent when crime happens are part of the problem

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'Not my problem': Those who keep silent when crime happens are part of the problem

It is not easy to drum up the courage to speak out when you witness a criminal act -- whether it be something as simple as shoplifting or something as horrible as a drug deal or murder.

In fact, many people just do not want to get involved, so they keep silent, thinking they are protecting themselves and their families.

And, in the short run, they might be.

But as long as good people keep silent, and criminals know they can scare those who abide by the law into not assisting with investigations, then we lose control over our communities and our safety.

If a community speaks out, turns in drug dealers and makes sure murderers get the punishment they deserve, criminals will find it inconvenient to stay there -- and they will move on to a spot where people are too afraid or don't care enough to stand up for their neighborhoods.

A neighborhood watch is a powerful tool in the prevention of crime -- and, so, too, are brave individuals whose honor and standards will not allow them to watch a criminal go free.

Without the help of witnesses, police and sheriff's deputies often cannot solve crimes, especially when evidence is already scarce.

Those who complain that the police and sheriff's deputies do not do enough to keep their communities safe, and then refuse to identify those who break the law, are part of the problem.

A community -- or an individual -- has to take a stand sometimes for what is right -- even when doing so is simply not going to be easy.

That is always the right thing to do.

Published in Editorials on July 21, 2010 11:00 AM