(LOUISVILLE) -- A controversial T-shirt has hit the streets of Kentuckiana. Anti-violence advocates call the T-shirts message dangerous. Some even believe the "Don't Snitch" shirt is helping keep killers on the street. WAVE 3 Investigator Eric Flack reports.
Just when local law enforcement officials were feeling encouraged by an increase in calls to the 574-LMPD tipline, the latest inner city fashion trend is aimed at shutting every one up.
Murder scenes are filled with people wondering what happened to a friend or loved one -- as well as those who know what happened but don't come forward.
Now a T-shirt in store windows is making a fashion statement by encouraging others to keep silent about crime with an intimidating message: "Stop Snitching!"
One person we spoke to, 26-year-old Leon Ware, likes the idea. "I've seen 'em; I've seen a lot of 'em. I think they hot. I think they real hot."
Dorothy Johnson-Speight Executive Director of Mothers In Charge, an anti-violence group in Philadelphia, says the shirts are sending a negative -- and dangerous -- message.
"It's saying: 'don't talk, don't tell if you know something. If you know someone who committed a murder, don't tell."
Mothers In Charge has been working to get the shirts pulled from retailers' shelves. But there's a rising demand for the shirts in Louisville.
"Don't Snitch" T-shirts are currently being sold on Fourth Street, where one store owner told us sells them about as fast as he gets them.
Another said that he felt somewhat guilty about offering T-shirts with that sort of a message but said he has to carry it to remain competitive with other stores that do.
LMPD officials say information from tipsters has been on the rise, and Maj. Troy Riggs doesn't believe a fashion trend will silence anyone.
"The only individuals that don't want you to tell that a crime has been committed are the individuals committing the crimes," Riggs said.
Ware says, for him, the shirt is just art imitating life. "It's the way you live, you know what I'm saying, and whatever's going on. I don't think it's sending no bad message -- I mean, it's just how you live."
That group in Philadelphia is pushing the manufacturer of one version of the "Don't Snitch" T-shirt to stop making them altogether. Even if that happens, there are still plenty of other copycat shirts on the market.
We're told the "Don't Snitch" T-shirt fad originated in Baltimore, Maryland last year on the heels of a "Don't Snitch" DVD that was circulating.