What is the difference between a witness and someone who snitches? I understand snitching can be a very controversial topic. We all know the code of the street, growing up being told things like, “you should never be a rat,” “a snitch is the worst thing ever,” or, “snitches get stitches,” and so on. There is an entire culture and community upholding this code of the streets. As a result of this, many people are doing years and years of time, all because they are honoring this street code about not snitching and not talking to authorities.

Let’s talk about what it means to be a snitch. In my opinion, when I think about someone who is snitching, I envision an individual who has linked up with other people in some sort of criminal enterprise, with the full understanding of what they are getting into and the intention to commit criminal acts. No one held a gun to their head or forced them into this situation. If you have entered this situation willfully and purposefully, it should mean that you also understand that with any criminal enterprise, agreement, or criminal participation, there is always a chance you could get caught. If you do get caught, you will face consequences, perhaps some very serious consequences. If you sign on to become a part of this enterprise, a necessary component of that agreement is the code of the streets. There is an understanding that if you get caught or if things go wrong, you will not tell on anyone, and in turn, no one will tell on you.

A witness, on the other hand, is someone who has not entered into any type of agreement. This person has not participated in any criminal activity. This happens to be a person who for whatever reason, was in an unfortunate situation where they either saw or heard another person’s involvement in a crime. It is important to stress that a witness is someone who did not agree to be a part of this criminal offense and did not enter into any kind of understanding about speaking to the authorities. To say it simply, they were just in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Most of the time they even regret witnessing anything in the first place. Many people do not want to come to court or have anything to do with the case, but a few do decide that performing their civic duty outweighs their reluctance to get involved.

It is plain to see that comparing a snitch to a witness would be like comparing night to day. On one side of the coin, we have an individual that went in with the understanding that there may be consequences to their actions, and on the other, we have someone who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. While this is simply my opinion, there is a big difference between someone who willingly participates in something with an understanding to not speak about the other people involved, versus someone who was simply unlucky enough to witness a crime.