Witnesses Coming Forward To Help Police

By: Roger Hamer, Brian Mastre Email
By: Roger Hamer, Brian Mastre Email

Omaha Homicide Detectives have been working around the clock due to the city's recent rash of shootings.

And there is one simple thing we can do to help solve some of these crimes.

Tell police what we see.

We've seen too much of this lately, yellow tape encompassing a shooting scene.

In most cases, the crime has already been committed and the gunmen have fled.

Omaha Police Homicide Sergeant Teresa Negron and her team move in to piece together what happened.

But they could always use additional help.

"We can only do so much we have to work with people in the community," Negron said. "The people that are there have to help us in this process."

Sometimes, results come slowly.

Negron says in the majority of the city's recent shootings, information is held by a few.

"The victim was either the intended victim or the person that was injured was with that person that was the intended victim," she said.

Negron says shootings are rarely random.

Getting information from witnesses and victims can make or break an investigation.

And witnesses and victims offer the best chance for completing the investigation.

Negron says more people are cooperating.

"There's people out there that actually they want to do their civic duty, they want to stand up and they want to say here's what happened because there's plenty of people that have had enough of what's going on," she said.

That's changing a street code against snitching.

"That code that's out there is going by the wayside because you are having more people in a community understand that they can speak to the police," Negron said. "You're going to have some that just don't want to get involved for whatever reason but it is getting better."

Homicide is far from network television series where crimes are solved in an hour.

Negron says it's a gritty, real life experience in Omaha neighborhoods.

And every time witnesses tell police what they see, they take back a little piece of their neighborhood.

"When you do that you're not helping police you're helping your community," she said.

Sgt. Negron says these recent shootings are not random. Shooting victims are usually targeted by people they know.

In fact, we found many of the names of suspects and victims in our files from other crimes.

Negron the shootings shouldn't deter people from walking down their street or going to their mailbox.

As for the idea that witnesses who talk face retaliation, she said that is more street talk than fact.

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