Men voted most likely to be seen leaving the scene of the crime…and the women that love them.

Years ago, when I first became a cop, I started a handwritten composition book with the above title of this post. Anyone who I arrested for a serious crime or otherwise caught my attention was put in that book. It took quite a bit to get you in there. I arrested hundreds of people that never made it into the book. The book contained those that for some reason my gut told me I would see again someday. When I logged them in I made note of many things including girlfriends, family members, and known friends and all kinds of other known identifiers. Things that would help me find them if I needed to find them.

No one else did this where I worked (or any other place that I knew of). Me doing this was just me being me. I am built that way. I have always been of the belief that the best predictor of human behavior is the past. People will do what people will do and it takes a lot to stop them from being themselves. It’s just the way things are. So me keeping this book was just my way of telling myself that.

Many officers who knew I was doing it thought it was a waste of time. Many thought it weird or laughed about it behind my back. I wasn’t a detective at the time so I had no business needing to do anything beyond what I was assigned to do. And they were right about that. What I did was just to satisfy my own strange way of seeing the world out of my patrol car window the way it was, not the way I wished it was.

Over the years of keeping that book, it served me well. All the usual suspects (and a few unusual ones) were in there. On more than one occasion, some of the cops and detectives who once laughed at me for keeping it this type of book asked to use it when their leads ran dry. And more often than not, the person they ended up arresting was in there, as was the way to best way to locate them.

But after  I was no longer a detective I wondered about that book. I thought about it a lot. Here I had this book with hundreds of names of people that I had somehow profiled into this group of people destined to commit crimes. It was about their destiny, and I did not do anything to perpetuate it either that I know of, but it bothered me that I had this book now.

I don’t know what happened to everyone in that book. Many were jailed again and again. Some were likely dead. But I am sure many also never got in trouble again, perhaps having no business ever being in my book.

I wonder what they would think knowing I had put their name in it?

I don’t know where that book is now. Probably in a box in storage somewhere. Or maybe I got rid of it. I don’t remember.

But for now, today, I don’t like that it existed at all.



6 thoughts on “Men voted most likely to be seen leaving the scene of the crime…and the women that love them.

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  1. A couple of days ago, I wrote this line in my novel: “Just like old times – creatures of habit always go back to the places they’re tied to.” I was talking about how criminals like to revisit the places they are familiar with – the places where they do the most dirt and for this guy, it was an old warehouse in downtown St. Louis. I’m going to dare to say that you are a very intuitive person Robert. They may have laughed behind your back about you doing something you didn’t have to do, but they also came to you when they were out of ideas hoping to luck up on a solution. I think it’s both scary and interesting that you thought to do that… Don’t knock your intuition, especially if it serves you well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Prejudices bother me too, especially when they work. It makes me sad when they work, it makes me angry at myself and society when they don’t. But they are there and somehow are part of our instincts. “If they have fangs, they are dangerous”, not necessarily but to be careful can save our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It hurts because you realise that you make a guess on the future of someone based on their past, and it turns out to be true most of the time. It makes you wonder if criminals could ever be free from crimes, or that if anyone could escape their past. A thought crosses the mind, did they even want to start afresh, and if they did, were they ever given the chance to. Once you are in the records, it is almost impossible to get a decent job. Every saying that says the past is the past, the present is what matters is proved wrong because many of them don’t try, and those who actually try have a 100 kilo burden, that rarely anyone is able to carry. It is said that the past doesn’t define us, but is it always true?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The past does not define us, but it does seem to reflect us in the eyes of those that see us. One of the most true quotes I have heard about this is ” We are remembered by our last worst act. ”


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