UNITED STATES -- You see it all the time in movies and police shows on TV, but informants or snitches are vital to law enforcement and getting people put behind bars. A recent report reveals just how prevalent it is in the FBI.

The report that USA Today obtained through the Freedom of Information Act revealed more than 5,500 crimes in a one year period were allowed by the FBI while pursuing other crimes or criminals. Loyola Law School professor Alexandra Natapoff says it happens all the time in law enforcement.

"Every crime is open for negotiation. The deals take place in every kind of case from state, local to federal level," Natapoff said.
Natapoff says the public has a right to know that it goes on, but not to the extent where the information will endanger people.

"Nobody wants the list if all the informants names, no one wants anyone endangered. But the public is entitled to know when its own government -- its own law enforcement apparatus -- tolerates crime," she said.