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The Snitching Project (redirected from Snitching-Project)

Page history last edited by blanca2641@yahoo.com 10 years, 1 month ago

The Snitching Project

The Snitching Project, led by Dr. Rick Frei, is an ongoing student-driven interdisciplinary research initiative aimed at developing a better understanding of the snitching phenomenon and facilitating community discussion through education. The project began in 2007 as part of an Applied Psychology course project at the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP). Students conducted focus groups throughout the city of Philadelphia to gain a better understanding of snitching, people's attitudes towards the police, and community involvement. From these focus groups, the students concluded that: a) there is not one common definition of snitching, and b) both attitudinal and situational factors influence whether (and to what extent) a person would provide evidence to the police. The students developed hypotheses regarding the nature of the snitching construct, possible antecedents and correlates of snitching attitudes, and situational factors (i.e., characteristics of the victim) that might influence involvement. The students developed a survey to test their hypotheses, which they administered to nearly 1,500 Community College students. See their questionnaire at Student Survey on Snitching.

Since 2007, the Snitching Prject has collected data from thousands of students, and presented data at both national and local conferences and workshops, In addition, the students organize their own conference every year on the topic of snitching and witness intimidation.

 

For more information about the Snitching Project, please contact Rick Frei at rfrei@ccp.edu or check out the following media links below.

NOTE: This wiki (like all wikis) is a work-in-progress. The Snitching Project uses this web site to disseminate information to team members. These results are preliminary and should be treated as such.

 

Results from Snitching Survey 1.0:

I.Overall Frequencies

     A. Representativeness of Sample: Our sample was representative of Community College with regards to sex.

Areas of over- or- under representation include:

 

    • Age: Our sample was younger than the overall population at CCP. Due to oversampling of Main campus, day classes, and 000-level and 100-level classes.
    • Race: Oversampling of whites, under sampling of Hispanics; may be related to campus.
    • Major: While we didn’t ask major, we did ask if a respondent was currently employed or planned on a career in law/criminal justice. Oversampling of criminal justice/paralegal studies courses. 

*College does not collect information on marital status, parental status, or country of origin, but note ‘age’ as a possible influence of representativeness of marital status and parental status.

 

     B. Definition of Snitching: People differ in how they define snitching. The traditional definition of telling on someone else to reduce your sentence is the most accepted, but other behaviors also are considered snitching. The less serious situations (tattling, telling on a cheater) also received high ratings (over 50%) indicating the word has different meanings in different contexts.

     Overall, there seems to be a relationship between snitching and initiative. The more the situation requires the person to take initiative (e.g., it takes more initiative to call the police than it does to answer questions if you are already at the scene of a crime, it takes more initiative to actively participate in setting someone up than it does to simply pick a person out of a lineup) the more likely it is to be viewed as snitching. Below is the list of situations and the percentage of students who indicated that the situation was an example of snitching.

    • Ratting on someone else to get out of a crime: 82.6
    • Reporting a classmate cheating on an exam: 73.7
    • Tattling on a brother or sister: 56.4
    • Helping the police set someone else up: 49.6
    • Picking a suspect out of a police lineup: 28.6
    • Witnessing a crime and calling the police to report it: 27.6.
    • Answering questions from police if you are at the scene of the crime: 15.8

     C. Life Experience:

    • Crime: Nearly half of all students reported being victims of crime and nearly two thirds had friends and relatives who had been the victims of crime.
    • Relationship with police: While over 60% said that they know a police officer personally, and nearly half reported cooperating with police in the past, half of the sample also said that they did not trust police. 21% of students had been in trouble with police before. Over one-third of all students had once participated in the D.A.R.E program; an anti-drug program that is run by police officers and has been tied to more positive perceptions of police officers. Nearly half of all students said that they would be more likely to cooperate if there was someone besides the police to which they could report crimes.
    • Illegal behavior: 15% of our sample admitted to using illegal drugs within the last 30 days.
    • Snitching and music: While over one-third of all students said that they listened to music that explicitly said that snitching was bad, only 5.5% of students said that they music that they listened to influenced their opinion of snitching.
    • Past experience with snitching: 17% of all students reported being falsely accused of a crime in the past, and 7% said that they had been snitched on before. Only 2% said that they had ever snitched on anyone else.
    • Legal/criminal justice occupations: Approximately 4% of the sample is currently employed in law/criminal justice occupations, while nearly 14% planned on a future career in law/criminal justice. Over representative based on classes sampled.
    • Upbringing: 60% of the samples consider themselves ‘religious’ and nearly 20% were taught that snitching was bad as a child. 

     D. Situational Variables:

    • Characteristics of victim: Overall, students were more likely to cooperate with police if the victim was a senior citizen, a child, a friend, a relative, a disabled person or the students themselves. Students were less likely to cooperate if the victim was a known drug dealer.
    • Characteristics of perpetrator: Students were less likely to cooperate with police if the perpetrator was a friend or a relative but more likely to cooperate if the perpetrator was a police officer or a person known to be dangerous. Whether the perpetrator was a teenager would not make someone more or less likely to cooperate.
    • Characteristics of crime: The type of crime had little effect on whether students would be more likely to cooperate. Students would be less likely to cooperate if the crime was nonviolent in nature.
    • Outcomes for cooperating: Most of the outcomes (reward, guaranteeing a criminal gets off the street, resulting in an innocent person or the student to go free) would make students more likely to cooperate. Nearly 30% of students said they would be less likely to cooperate if it would affect their reputations in the neighborhood.

II.Demographic Data

Sex Differences

     A. Definition of Snitching:

          In general, men were slightly more likely to rate most of the situations as being examples of snitching as compared to women. The differences varied and ranged from 1-7%.

     B. Life Experience:

    • Crime: Men were more likely to be the victims of crimes (54% vs. 38% of all women sampled), as were they more likely to have a friend or a relative who was a victim of crime.
    • Relationship with police: The difference between men and women regarding trusting police (45% of men, 47% of women) is small. However, nearly 40% of men reported being in trouble with the police in the past, as compared to just 14% of women.
    • Illegal behavior: 20% of men admitted to using illegal drugs within the last 30 days, as compared to only 13% of women.
    • Past experience with snitching: 35% of all male students reported being falsely accused of a crime in the past, compared to only 10% of female respondents. 14% of men said that they had been snitched on before, as compared to only 4% of females.
    • Religion:Women were more likely to consider themselves religious (64% women, 50% men). 

     C. Situational Variable:

    • Characteristics of the victim: In terms of being more likely to cooperate with police, women in general were more influenced by characteristics of the victim than men, especially if the victim is a senior citizen (15 point difference), disabled (16 point difference), or the students themselves (17 point difference).
    • Outcomes: Women were more likely than men to cooperate with police if doing so would guarantee that a criminal was off the streets (55% for men, 67% for women). 

 

Race Differences

Note: Because of the sample size, we were only able to make meaningful comparisons between Black vs. non-black students and White vs. nonwhite students.

     A. Definition of Snitching: In general, blacks were more likely to rate situations involving the police as being examples of snitching as compared to non-blacks. The differences ranged from 10-13%.

     B. Life Experience:

    • Crime: Blacks were more likely to have a relative who was the victim of a crime. There were no differences between black and non-blacks with regards to being the victim of a crime or having a friend be the victim of a crime.
    • Relationship with police: 39% of black students reported that they trust the police, as compared to 54% of non-black students.
    • Illegal behavior: 20% of non-blacks admitted to using illegal drugs within the last 30 days, as compared to only 10% of blacks.
    • Music: More than twice as many black students (48% vs. 22% for non-blacks) reported listening to music that explicitly said that snitching is bad, although the percentage of both blacks and nonblack students who say that their musical choices influence their attitudes towards snitching was low (&% of black and 3% of non-black students).
    • Religion: Blacks identified themselves as religious more than non-blacks (70% blacks, 49% non-blacks).
    • Characteristics of the Situation: The biggest difference was in terms of characteristics of the perpetrator. If the perpetrator was a relative or a friend, whites were less likely to cooperate with the police than non-whites.

     C. Situational Variable:

    • Characteristics of the perpetrator: When the perpetrator was a friend or a family member, Whites reported being less likely to cooperate with police than non-whites.

 

Age Differences

     A. Definition of Snitching: In general, there were small age differences (less than one year) between students who identified situations as snitching and those who did not, with younger students more likely to view a situation as snitching.

     B. Life Experience:

    • Crime: Older students were more likely to have been the victim of a crime (mean age for victims = 26.9, mean age for non-victims = 22.9) and more likely to have friends or relatives who had been victims.
    • Relationship with police: Older students were slightly more likely to trust police than younger students, but the age difference was less than one year.
    • Illegal behavior: Mean age for students who have used drugs in the last seven days = 23, for those who have NOT used drugs = 25.
    • Music: Younger students were far more likely to listen to music which explicitly states that snitching is bad (mean age = 22.1 for listeners, 26.1 for non-listeners).
    • Religion: Older students considered themselves more religious than younger students.

     C. Situational Variable:

    • Across all situations, younger students were less likely to cooperate with police than older students. 

III. Illegal Behavior and Snitching

We hypothesized that students who were recently engaged in illegal behavior would be: 1) more likely to define snitching as cooperating with police in any situation and 2) less likely to cooperate with police in any situation. To assess illegal behavior, we asked students if they had used an illegal drug in the past 30 days (a direct measure of illegal behavior). We also asked students if they had drunk alcohol in the past seven days. Since we also had students' ages, we were able to identify those respondents who engaged in illegal underage drinking (an indirect measure of illegal behavior).

Students who had engaged in illegal behavior were more likely to view cooperating with police as a form of snitching (for example, 35% of illegal drug users said that "A person who is at the scene of a crime picks out the perpetrator in a "police lineup" was an example of snitching, as compared to only 27% of nondrug users). Drug users in particular had significantly different life experiences than non drug users. They were significantly more likely to have been the victims of crime (62% of drug users as compared to 39% of non drug users), more likely to have friends (92% of drug users vs. 71% of non users) and relatives (83% of drug users vs. 70% of non users) who had been the victims of crime, and more than twice as likely to have been in trouble with the police in the past (47% of drug users vs. 17% of non-users). Ironically, there was no difference in participation in the D.A.R.E. program between illegal drug users and non users (approximately 40% of users and non users participated in the program).

In terms of situational variables, there was no differences between users and non users regarding characteristics of the victim, with one notable exception: 40% of drug users said that they would be less likely to cooperate with police if the victim was a drug dealer, as compared to only 30% of non users. Not surprisingly, drug users were less likely to cooperate with the police if the crime involved drugs or was nonviolent in nature.

IV.Music and Snitching

We hypothesized that students who listened to music that explicitly says that snitching is bad would be: 1) more likely to define snitching as cooperating with police in any situation and 2) less likely to cooperate with police in any situation. Not surprisingly, those who listened to music that said that snitching was bad were more likely to define snitching as any cooperation with police and less likely to be influenced by situational factors when deciding whether to cooperate with police or not. Interestingly, while nearly 35% of all students admitted that they listened to music that said that snitching is bad, only 7% of that subsample said that the music they listen to Our influenced their attitudes towards snitching. This implies that, instead of music influencing attitudes towards snitching, those students who have already negative attitudes towards police and are predisposed not to snitch seek out music that confirms their attitudes.

V. Geographic Differences

We hypothesized that the neighborhood a person lives in may be related to attitudes towards snitching and propensity to cooperate with police, so we asked students to provide their ZIP Codes. Of the nearly 1100 students surveyed, 895 students provided us with valid ZIP Codes. Jamie Picardy took the data from these students and created maps to look for geographic patterns in the data. Here are three of the maps that Jamie has created.

The first map shows the distribution of respondents across ZIP Codes (darker colors represent more students). Overall, we had at least one respondent in every Philadelphia ZIP Code except for 19112 (Philly Naval Shipyard), 19106 (Old City), and 19118 (Chestnut Hill). The highest concentration of respondents was in the Southwest and Northeast.

IRS and Snitching

The IRS pay to snitch program relies heavily upon disgruntled employees, mostly middle management types who have not been able to progress forward and have a grudge to settle. Under a newly amended rule from the Internal Revenue Service, ordinary citizens can help the tax man cometh, or at least collect. The new Whistleblower Office is the IRS's attempt to give incentives for you to rat out the tax cheats you know. If your employer, co-worker, landlord, neighbor or father-in-law is raking in fistfuls of cash and bypassing Uncle Sam, you can anonymously report the abuse to the IRS and snag a windfall from their dishonesty. As long as the total amount of tax fraud comes out to at least $2 million (including penalties, interest, and whatever else the government ultimately collects based on your report), you can get a 15 to 30 percent cut of the total of what is successfully reported. We hypothesized using recent polls that cheating the system is 13% higher than 2008 causing more people to be at risk of getting "snitched on" by others who need more money at that particular point in time.

Comments (1)

kellycreagh@yahoo.com said

at 10:49 am on Feb 14, 2012

After careful reflection, this site needs to be more focused on the sociocultural and age contrasts and comparisons rather than just college age students; people in their twenties simply do not have the life experience that a person in their sixties would. Obviously, more data is needed with a much larger control group.
The definition of "snitching" is also vague. To further the quality of statistics, more substantive and relevant measures must be taken relative to the phenomenon of snitching and what is means to different people,(e.g. races, cultures, sexual orientation, etc.). Precision and validity should be the goal for an accurate view to determine some of the underlying causes regarding "snitching", and its overall connotations.

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