Crime: Looking For A Few Good Snitches

America's inner cities are ruled by a brutal code of silence. How one city is fighting to crack it

Alvin Chalmers, handcuffed in the backseat of an undercover cop car, closes his eyes and lets out a small moan. "I'm being treated like a criminal for being a victim," he says. "What kind of system is this?" Chalmers, a former municipal worker with a full beard and sad eyes who admits having been a drug addict, has just been plucked off rough-and-tumble Whitelock Street in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, Md. His crime? Being too scared to testify in court against a paroled murderer who robbed him at gunpoint last April. Chalmers began missing court dates three months before...

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