Viewpoint: July 22, 2009

With murders in the Capital City occuring at a record pace this year, we need to call on one of our most effective crime-fighting tools. That's you the citizen. Law enforcement can't do it alone.

Investigators have to rely on citizens to step forward and testify. That's the only way that some of our most violent offenders will end up doing time in prison. But recently, taking a stand against crime has been a scary thing to do. Five witnesses who were set to testify in a high-profile criminal case have been shot to death.

D.A. Hillar Moore and his staff moved quickly to develop a witness protection program. Both the legislature and the governor signed off on it. All that's needed now is approval from the state Supreme Court.

State witness protection won't be as elaborate as the federal program, but it's a good beginning. State witnesses may get armed protection, physical relocation, reasonable housing, basic living expenses, and help in getting a new identity. We hope this action will encourage more witnesses to come forward. One of the best defenses against crime is for our good, law-abiding citizens to take a stand against the criminals who terrorize our streets.