Syracuse police can't get the kind of cooperation they'd like to get from witnesses to capital crimes. Take for instance, the Dec. 29 murder of Tramarra Harrell, a.k.a. Booga, who was reportedly stabbed to death during a closing-time altercation at The Wet Spot, 950 Spencer St.
No one's talking.
If it's any consolation, this unfortunate trend is not unique to Syracuse.
The national Police Executive Research Forum recently surveyed 76 departments across the country. The forum found that 78 percent of those agencies encountered reluctant witnesses while investigating serious crime, resulting in 45 percent fewer closed cases.
Ironically, Harrell himself stonewalled the cops during a previous probe. Nineteen days before he was stabbed to death, Booga was charged with felony hindering prosecution after the Nov. 26 gunshot death of 28-year-old DuUwezo Ross.
Silence simply sustains the vicious cycle. And the fear of reprisal sustains the silence. And on and on and on.
Sometimes the silence extends over decades.
On Feb. 12, 1991 Michael Nappi and Ronald Lardeo were bludgeoned to death inside Lardeo's auto shop on the edge of downtown, at 413 S. West St.
Nappi, who lived in Camillus, had stopped into Lardeo's shop to get his car repaired. Another customer found Nappi, 40, and Laredo, 33, with their heads bashed in a few hours later.
A Syracuse Police captain said "We always thought we'd get information on this case, and we never did."
What they did find months later were Lardeo's beeper and wallet tossed on the shore of Onondaga Lake in the town of Geddes.
These aren't the only unsolved cases in town, but if you know anything about any of them, consider breaking the sound of silence. Call the SPD criminal investigation division at 442-5222.
When playwright David Mamet reflects on romance, you can be sure that the dialogue will be peppered with profanity and the characters will be whacked. So it is in the ongoing Rarely Done Productions' staging of Mamet's "Romance," running Friday and Saturday, April 11-12, at Jazz Central 441 E. Washington St., downtown. Admission costs $20; 546-3224.