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THE PUBLIC THE CRIMINAL'S
BY GEORGE S. DOUGHERTY
SECOND DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER, CITY OF NEW YORK
GEORGE S. DOUGHERTY
George S. Dougherty, the author of the following article, is Second Deputy Commissioner of Police of New York City. This office he has held since May, 1911. In this position Mr. Dougherty has distinguished himself in many important criminal cases, his skill as a detective resulting in the apprehension of numerous notorious offenders of the law. Before his appointment as Deputy Commissioner he had had a wide experience in detective work as superintendent of the Pinkerton National Detective Association; during his long connection with this agency he figured in many famous cases. Mr. Dougherty was born in Pennsylvania forty-eight years ago; for a time he was engaged in newspaper work, and the clear, straightforward style in which he tells about conditions in New York City shows that he has not forgotten the lessons learned in his first occupation. The Deputy Commissioner does not in personal appearance resemble the type of detective made familiar in the pictures of Sherlock Holmes; he looks rather like a matter-of-fact business man”; he wastes
no words and disposes of the multitude of matters thai come to his desk with the despatch that characterizes the executive head of a corporation.
The pictures which illustrate this article were suggested by Mr. Dougherty, and were specially made for The Outlook, under the direction of a member of his personal staff, by a prominent moving picture concern. In the first one, a street car was hired and members of the moving picture stock company were posed to act the parts, in so far as they can be pictorially represented. The crowded platform, the “stall” who jostles the victim as he tries to get on the car, the “ jerver” who gets the passenger's "leather," are graphically portrayed. In real life the act of picking a pocket is done so quickly and deftly that the "jerver's ” hands could not be seen. The pictures showing the sweat-shop workers and the interior of the department store were made in the large rotunda of the moving picture company, which is arranged for the presenting of a large variety of scenes, exactly as in the case of a first-class theater. A dry goods store was specially fitted up for the occasion, with many additional "shoppers” besides those who appear in the picture as reproduced. The sweat-shop scene was also specially made by the motion picture company for The Outlook, while the picture of the attempt to steal the truck was posed for in a city street by special arrangement. The elaborate facilities for presenting all kinds of scenes which are at the command of a large moving picture concern suggest possibilities in the way of periodical illustration which may have important developments in the future.—THE EDITORS.
F the public would cease to co-operate
carelessness with matches, cigars, and cigawith the criminal, crime could be re- rettes." Some two years ago a shiftless
duced to a minimum within a single creature threw a cigarette butt into a pile of year. It is the people, and not the police, waste, and 143 girls paid for the act with who are responsible for most of the wrong- their lives. That was the Triangle Shirt doing in the country. Not that the public Waist holocaust. Not a great while after, consciously promotes crime—it would resent an ignorant cellarman threw a match into a such a suggestion—but it vastly contributes waste-paper basket in a little wooden office to it by its negligence.
off the kitchen of the Café Savarin about There are two kinds of negligence: crimi- midnight, and the great Equitable building, nal negligence and negligence that makes worth millions, went up in smoke. By this criminals ! Rank indifference to the life or act the financial center of the country was the property of others is criminal. For in- demoralized for days until it was found that stance, of the 15,633 fires that happened in the securities in the safe deposit vaults had Greater New York last year, 3,577 were escaped harm. marked by the Commissioner caused by During the year 1912, out of a large numany there.
ber of deaths, no fewer than 3,691 were to keep out of jail, to get the goods, and to entered on the books of the Board of Health dispose of them. To these he devotes all of New York as “ due to accident and neg- his waking thoughts when he is sober, and ligence." The criminal quality of the negli- the public by its negligence does its best to gence here is shown in the toll that death
promote his efforts. In the getting of the took in children. Of the 461 persons burned goods and disposing of them he becomes a to death in “small accidents" 130 were male specialist. He can shift from one branch to and 107 female children under five, while 54 another as exigency demands. But each has boys and 25 girls of that tender age were to be learned ; there's a difference between killed by vehicles in the streets.
stealing and getting rid of diamonds and But why do parents permit little children doing the same with silks. The crook is as to play in crowded streets ? The answer is, dishonest with himself as he is with others. there are 50,000 black rooms- -rooms that If he could reason sanely, he wouldn't be a have neither direct light nor air—in New crook. He refuses to realize the enormous York in which families of three to eight per- odds that are piling up against him as his sons live. Really, the streets are less danger- career progresses.
He holds the belief that ous! This is not parental negligence, but he can keep on getting something for nothnegligence on the part of the community- ing, and continue to get away with it, which eriminal negligence !
is proof of a crank in the brain. People The negligence which encourages the often say, “ If he'd only devote to legitimate mature criminal and makes the new one is work the time and energy that he devotes to that which puts temptation in the way and crime, what a success he'd make of it !” I gives opportunity—a combination peculiarly doubt it. The men who are qualified for fertile of crime. Such negligence is just great work generally do it. People also talk what the professional crook banks on, for he about honor among thieves.
But why go knows it better than any one else; and it is among thieves for honor? I've never found also the bait held out to the vast number of
The idea is a paradox. susceptible persons who have never yet done Therefore, why tempt a man of this kind ? a technical wrong.
The sight of a fat pocketbook is apt to Let us briefly survey the field in which the awaken envy in the most honest of us. But seeds of our negligence fall. To begin with, the majority of us have too good a mental, if take the professional crook, the finished not a moral, balance to entertain anything but product of the underworld. This gentleman “proper and legal” means of separating is very lazy. He doesn't steal because he the owner from his wad. The gentleman of wants to steal, but because he doesn't want the underworld is impatient of the surer and to work. He is not spurred on by a spirit safer method of the business man. He must of adventure, because there is nothing ad- have results-drastically got if need be venturous about him. He is the least imag- but results. He is obsessed by opportunity. inative, the cheapest, the most sordid creature If the man with the fat wallet gets away, he to be found. Fiction-writers have tried to may never see him again. The obsession is make the underworld picturesque.
It is not
fatal. The man with the fat wallet sticks it so. Its people are uneducated-filthy in in his hip pocket and proceeds to board a mind and person. Their talk is either shop Thirty-fourth Street car at the corner of one or carousing, and is of the most brutal and of the busy avenues. Ever since he was a vulgar kind.
The thief would resent being little boy the business man has read of money called romantic. He would consider it a being taken from the bip pocket-but the form of weakness, as he does chivalry. He lightning will never strike him, of course not! prides himself on the very meanness of his And the crook knows just how he feels. The acts. His ethics compared with those of the clean-cut, stern-faced Central Office man in honest man are a minus quantity: He glories the crowd knows that ninety-five per cent of in living on women, and he cunningly boasts the money lost by men is taken from their how he has sacrificed the one who has fed hip pockets while they are using both hands and protected him when the safety of his to board a car or hanging onto a strap with own skin demanded it. His rendezvous is one hand and holding up a newspaper with the dive, where every one either flatters him the other. That's why he—the Central Office or plays upon his fear.
man-is in that particular crowd. The crook The crook has three things to think of : can't take his eyes from the wallet-his
fingers itch for it. He approaches the victim, worst offenders. The manager of one of the pushing through the crowd; he reaches for great department stores of New York rethe wad—and the law gets him. The owner cently told me that he considered female of the fat wallet thanks the detective for customers careless in the ratio of ten to one. saving his money, thanks him for his warning In this store an average of twenty-five artito keep it in a safer place, and then absent- cles, of greater or smaller value, and one mindedly again sticks it into his hip pocket, purse, containing money from small change conspicuously ready for the next crook to up to hundreds of dollars, are found every pluck.
day. The character of the articles abandoned When the mature crook is gone, we must often indicated, the manager said, the most have somebody to take his place—there is inconceivable thoughtlessness. One day a danger of his race dying out. To be sure, he young woman brought in a very small child has children of his own, and these he trains and became so engrossed in shopping that in the ways of crookedness. Yet even they the baby strayed from her side and was gone will not supply the deficit that death and the two hours before she missed it.
Then a law are making in his ranks. But negligence search was instituted, and the little one is sowing the seed in other soil constantly. found in the “ lost articles” department. And this soil is very fertile.
Another manager said that he considered the As to the potential crook, he is everywhere; negligence of the women shoppers a menace no class of society is free from him. But he to the morality of cash-girls, and that he had obtains in largest numbers among the hungry found that some of his younger saleswomen thousands, ill-clad, half-starved people, people had become thieves and shoplifters from who have but a mild solution of garbage in observing how easy it was to “get the goods." their veins instead of red blood, which makes In commenting on the amazing negligence of for small moral stamina. Instead of protect- people he cited the case of a young woman ing such as these for their own sakes and who had left a bank book containing four for the sake of the community, we are con
one-hundred-dollar bills on a counter. Her stantly tempting them to do wrong. Rather address being in the book, they got her on than making crime difficult and dangerous, the 'phone and learned that she had that day we are making it easy and safe.
withdrawn the money to pay for an operation In one year 14,657 children were arraigned and hospital expenses. It is quite likely that in the juvenile courts of Greater New York. the anticipation of the dreaded event had Many of these youngsters were arrested for driven everything else from her head. But trivial offenses, playing ball in the streets and even the shock of losing the money failed to the like, but 1,124 were charged with larceny make the young woman careful. She sent a as a misdemeanor, 302 were charged with colored telephone boy to the store for the larceny as a felony, and two were charged money without any letter or means of identi with manslaughter. In 3,827
the fication—simply his word.
The manager parents were charged with improper guard- refused to turn the bank book and its conianship. It is estimated by those who make tents over to the boy, on the ground that he a study of juvenile delinquency that 60 per might have overheard the talk over the 'phone cent of the whole trouble was due to paren- and come there on his own hook to get tal negligence. There are three delinquents the money and run away. The young woman in the Child's Court—the child, the parent, was very angry. She thought the manager's and the community. When one thinks of attitude very unreasonable, and told him so those 50,000 · black rooms” in which in forcible language over the 'phone. families work, where in some cases five per- A vicious quality creeps into negligence sons get only ten cents for every 720 roses often in the form of a disposition carelessly bound into garlands by them, where they all to blame others, regardless of consequences. eat and sleep, where moral and physical dis- Not long ago a lady dropped a $10,000 pearl ease is bred, it is easy to pass the blame on necklace on the floor of one of our great to the community. Really, it is amazing, shops. It was picked up by a floor-walker considering the negligence on the part of the and turned over to the proprietor, who public, not that there are so many criminals, watched the papers carefully. Presently, as but that there are so few !
expected, the loss was advertised and the In the matter of promoting crime through store people communicated with the owner negligence women are by a long way the of the necklace, who chanced to be a Chicago
society woman. She had missed the necklace avowed to the general passenger agent that while on the street, but, being afraid to let one was in the car when she and her her husband know of her carelessness, had woman companion quitted it. Therefore charged one of the chambermaids of the one of the company's employees must have hotel in which they were stopping with the picked it up. A search was made without theft. A rigid investigation was made, but result, and the agent wrote the lady that he without results.
had every confidence in his people and that The happy sequel to this incident was that she must have dropped the brooch elsewhere. the owner of the necklace gave the floor- At this she wrote him a very insulting and walker a reward of $250, the exact amount abusive letter and threatened to sue the com of a mortgage on his little home in the
pany. He paid no attention to this, and a suburbs, which he'd been put to great straits month later received another letter from the to pay off. She also apologized to the cham- lady. In it she expressed great shame and bermaid and made her a handsome present. humiliation at the way she had treated him,
Another case of vicious carelessness was and proceeded to explain the loss and recovthat of a society woman who, accompanied ery of the brooch. It transpired that she by her husband, went to the station-master and her companion were not the last ones in at one of our great depots and claimed that
It seems that a young man who she had left a diamond ring valued at $1,000 was engaged to the daughter of a neighbor in the washroom. She described the incident in the little resort in which she was spending most circumstantially. She had taken the ring the summer had occupied the seat behind off and laid it on the right-hand side of the her. He knew her well by sight. He saw washbowl. This particular detail had im- the brooch fall to the floor, and picked it up pressed itself upon her because she had had and held it until such a time as a reward to move it away from the soap-dish. She should be offered. She had advertised the distinctly remembered that there was no one reward and no questions, and he had promptly else in the room at the time but the attendant, turned the brooch over to her. Certainly a and her she charged with having appropriated nice young man to have for a son-in-law! the ring. The station-master protested that This woman liad a more fortunate eshe had every confidence in the attendant, who cape from the effects of her careless accusahad in the course of twenty years' service tion than did another woman who went to a turned in thousands upon thousands of dol- department store not long ago and ordered lars' worth of abandoned jewelry. Neverthe- a vacuum cleaner sent to her house with a less he investigated. But nothing developed, demonstrator. The girl who took the order and after a time the lady called upon the had a brother who was selling vacuum cleanstation-master and confessed that she had on commission for an outside house. lost a large sum of money at bridge, had Instead of booking the order, she kept it and pawned the ring to pay for it, and had used turned it over to him, which was disloyal, of the aforesaid ruse to throw her husband off course. The young man took the cleaner to the scent.
the customer's house and proceeded to show But didn't you consider the attendant ?" off its various merits. While doing this he asked the station-master with great indigna- complained that in some way he had wounded tion.
his finger, and the lady of the house went out "Why,” exclaimed the woman, with great of the room to fetch bandages. astonishment, “ I never thought of that !" The young man finished his demonstration
* Well,” said he, looking at her severely, and took his leave. But no sooner had he "I suspected there was something crooked gone than the lady discovered that a diamond about it and I never told her.”
brooch which she claimed to be worth $2,500 Women when complaining of losses in had disappeared. She at once 'phoned the railway cars always declare positively that department store and charged the young man they were the very last ones to leave, and with having taken her jewel. The manager consequently the valuable must have been investigated and found that no demonstrator picked up and kept by one of the trainmen had gone from that store to the lady's house. or sweepers. A society woman, the wife of The salesgirl was examined, and confessed a New York banker, claimed that coming in that she had switched the order. From her from New Jersey she had dropped a valuable they learned her brother's address, the cusdiamond brooch from her neck. She solemnly tomer had him arrested as the thief, and he