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Sunday, 10 August 2014


The word 'criminal' has been in the language since around 1400.

The Romans substituted criminals into plays for punishment, so if a character died in the play's story, a real criminal would die on stage.

One of New York’s first crime bosses was a Prussian immigrant Fredericka Mandelbaum—better known as “Old Mother,” “Marm” and the “Queen of Fences” (1827-1894). She built up a criminal empire worth millions, ran a school to teach children how to become successful pickpockets and thieves, and functioned as one most prominent hostesses for New York’s high society.

The Italian anthropologist Cesare Lombroso was convinced that it is possible to see criminality in their physical features. He wrote his most important and influential work, L'uomo delinquente in 1878 in which he outlined his belief  that the criminal type has certain physical abnormalities. These might be seen, for example, in a certain pattern of lumps on the skull that mark out an individual as irredeemably immoral.

Oskaloosa, Iowa, became the first municipality in the United States in 1934 to fingerprint all of its citizens.

The FBI began its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List in 1950 as a way to get the public's help in finding the nation's most dangerous criminals.

22-year-old Colin Groundwater became the first man in Britain to be arrested and jailed as a result of his appearance on a television program on May 14, 1952. During an appearance on What’s My Line? Groundwater gave his correct name and said his occupation was a frogman in the Orkneys. He received three guineas for his appearance. Just previously he had persuaded a bank official he had an account and had given his name as Stuart. The official saw ‘Stuart’ on TV and told police. Groundwater admitted obtaining a £1,275 motor vehicle by worthless cheques.

Ruth Eisemann-Schier became in 1968 the first woman placed on the FBI's Most Wanted List.

The US Marshals caught more than 100 Washington DC criminals in a massive sting by mailing them all free (fake) tickets to a Redskins game. When they arrived to pick up the tickets on the morning of December 15, 1985 they were apprehended. Operation Flagship remains one of the most successful stings in law enforcement history.

Wealthy Chinese hire body doubles to get prosecuted for their crimes; this process is called Ding zui.

Shops in Japan place orange balls of paint near the register as an anti-crime device. The staff throws the ball at the criminal, which explodes on impact and stains the criminal with distinctive orange paint for the police to easily identify.

At least 75% of convicted criminals are unable to read or write.

Here is a list of songs about people who committed crimes.

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