PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — “Snitching” and witness reluctance were the focus of a daylong conference today at Community College of Philadelphia.

The second annual “Shh!” Conference looks for ways to change the culture of silence in communities where crime is pervasive.  It was put together by CCP professor Rick Frei for his psychology class.

“What we find is that kids who grew up in neighborhoods where there’s more violence tend to have more negative attitudes about cooperating with authorities,” Frei tells KYW Newsradio.  “Also, we know that if parents have been engaged in illegal behavior, they often teach their children not to cooperate with authorities. So there’s a lot of things that are causing a problem in terms of getting people to cooperate in the city.”

Frei says a good place to start is with the term snitching:

“Anyone who cooperates with an authority figure is now being labeled as a ‘snitch.’ When you cooperate with authorities that’s ‘cooperation,’ that’s not snitching.”

Reported by Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio 1060

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