New Facebook page warns Tacoma residents to 'stop snitching'

New Facebook page warns Tacoma residents to 'stop snitching' »Play Video
TACOMA, Wash. -- A new Facebook page dedicated to "outing snitches" is stirring controversy in Tacoma.

Police are keeping tabs on the page in case it sparks new rounds of retaliation or scares people from coming forward to speak out about crimes.

Investigators say it often takes an informant to solve the major cases involving gangs or organized crime. But thanks to a new Facebook page, the people who "snitch" on criminals will pay a price on social media.

The page is called Tacoma Snitches and it already has more than 6,800 likes. The site is filled with photos of so-called "snitches," or people who have cooperated with law enforcement.

Tacoma residents Alan Jackson and Ramon Rogers say some neighbors won't cooperate with criminal investigations because they don't trust the police.

"Why would I call the cops and report something's happening in my neighborhood when me and the people in my neighborhood can handle it ourselves, depending on what it is," Jackson said.

Some worry Tacoma Snitches will only reinforce the attitude that makes some people unwilling to help investigators.

"I don't really get involved with the police," said Rashid Jabbar. "I really have no reason to call them. I don't think I've ever called the police on nobody."

Police and prosecutors are monitoring the page and say everything there is already available through media reports and court documents.

"It appears to be public information -- mindless chatter -- but if it escalates to genuine threats, then we'd be looking to prosecute," said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.

The big concern is that people who appear on the site may become targets of retaliation, even though the information may not be accurate.

"Somebody could put somebody else's picture up on there just because they don't like them, and they trying to say something and get something started," Rogers said.

Lindquist said he and his team are watching to make sure that doesn't happen.

"If it escalates to a point where it's criminal, we absolutely will prosecute it, because we take the safety of our witnesses, and the integrity of the justice system very seriously," he said.

Site administrators at Tacoma Snitches didn't respond to a request for comment on the story.