Mr Straw visited the Limehouse Fields estate in east London as he unveiled a shake-up in the way the police and courts deal with intimidated and vulnerable witnesses.
Half the 1,000 tenants are of Bengali origin. For years they suffered racist harassment. Tower Hamlets council went to court to have the ringleaders thrown out, helped by 15 witnesses.
Mr Straw said: "Modern technology can now help to provide us with solutions. But witnesses play the central role in bringing criminals to justice."
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