BOSTON - A survey of Massachusetts teenagers found 38 percent had heard friends being threatened by gang members not to report a violent crime.
Researchers for the "Snitches Get Stitches: Youth, Gangs, and Witness Intimidation in Massachusetts" study interviewed 39 young people ranging from ages 13 to 21 at seven participating Boys and Girls Clubs across the state and collected anonymous surveys from 641 young people, most between 12 and 18, the Boston Globe reported.
Funded by the state Executive Office of Public Safety and the National Center for Victims of Crime -- a non-profit advocacy group based in Washington -- the study found 64 percent of the youth said people don't report violent crimes because they are afraid of being beaten up or killed.
Additionally, 7 percent reported being the victim of a shooting, 20 percent reported witnessing a shooting and 18 percent reported a family member or friend being shot at.
However, of those who had personally reported a violent crime, just 12 percent said they had been threatened, which is in line with Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis' views.
"The fear is much more widespread than the actual incidents," he told the newspaper.
Copyright © 2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.