"Witness intimidation--which includes threats against the victims of crime--strikes at the root of the criminal justice system by denying critical evidence to police investigators and prosecutors and undermining the confidence of the whole community in the government's ability to protect and represent the members of the community. Unfortunately, gang members so frequently engage in witness intimidation that it is considered part of normal gang behavioral dynamics. Intimidation may be aimed at individual witnesses, either in a direct or indirect fashion, or may be something felt by an entire community living with the impact of an active criminal street gang in its midst. Meaningful control of gang crime requires minimizing the incidents and effects of gang-related witness intimidation. A number of strategies exist to offset the impacts of gang-related witness intimidation. Traditionally used strategies include intensive witness management, immediate apprehension and aggressive prosecution of intimidators, setting high bail in cases of gang violence (especially gang-related witness intimidation), creation and use of influential victim/witness assistance programs, and occasional relocation of threatened witnesses. Promising new approaches include increasing prosecutions of witness intimidation incidents and amending the rules of evidence in some states to allow the admission of a prior sworn statement or grand-jury testimony if the defendant causes the witness to be unavailable."
National Youth Gang Center: http://www.nationalgangcenter.gov
National Gang Center Bulletin (February 2007), no.1