What's My Crime
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What’s My Crime

At the turn of the century, many Americans believed that you could tell a criminal by the way he or she looked—that all murderers looked more or less alike, that all forgers had a typical appearance. In the most extreme cases, wrote one criminologist, “imprisonment in advance applies”—that is, some people’s appearance demonstrated that they simply were criminals, by their very nature. Try to identify the forger from these three pictures.

One of these men is a forger!!

Forgers: "have an artlessness, and something clerical in their manner...some have a haggard look, very small eyes, and the face of an old woman." (Arthur McDonald, Criminology )

"Forgers and swindlers wear a singular, stereotyped expression of amiability on their faces...they have small eyes, twisted and large noses, become bald and gray haired at an early age, and often possess faces of a feminine cast." (Cesare Lombroso, Criminal Man)

Note the small eyes.

  1. It’s him!
  2. Let him go!
  1. He’s the one!
  2. Let him go!

A clerical manner?

  1. A likely suspect!
  2. Let him go!
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