Interesting Facts About Crime

Based on the victim-to-population ratio, an adult has a greater chance of being physically assaulted in the state of Arizona than anywhere else in the country. The state with the second highest rate of assault is North Carolina, third is New Mexico.

An embezzler in Thailand, sentenced to 865 years in jail, was lucky enough to get his sentenced reduced to just 576 years.

Forensic scientists can determine a person's sex, age, and race by examining a single strand of hair.

Today, handguns are used in 51 percent of all murders committed in the United States. Knives were used in 20 percent of all murders, shotguns in 8 percent, and personal weapons such as rocks and bottles in 9 percent. Six percent of murders were committed by miscellaneous methods, and another 6 percent by poisoning. This, however, may be a deceptive statistic, as it is estimated that 64 percent of all murders by poisoning go undetected.

In ancient China the punishment for small criminal infractions such as shoplifting or breaking a curfew was to brand the offender's forehead with a hot iron. Petty thieves and people who molested travelers had their noses sliced off. For the crime of damaging city bridges or gates, the ears, hands, feet, and kneecaps were cut off. Abduction, armed robbery, treason, and adultery were punished by castration. Death by strangulation was the price one paid for murder and for an even more unspeakable crime-drunkenness.

In past centuries infants in China were sometimes kidnapped and turned into "animal children." Every day, starting with the back, the captors would remove a bit of the unfortunate child's skin and transplant pieces of the hide of a bear or dog in its place. The process was tedious, for the hide adhered only in spots, and the children had a habit of dying in the midst of treatment, The captors also destroyed their victims' vocal cords, forced them by means of ingenious mechanical contraptions to walk on all fours, and tortured them to such an extent that the innocents were soon bereft of all reason. One result of such atrocities was the "wild boy of Kiangse," exhibited in the nineteenth century before a group of westerners in China. The child walked on all fours, made a peculiar barking sound, and was covered with a fuzzy, leathery kind of hide. An American doctor named Macgowan who witnessed this spectacle recorded that another method of creating child-monsters in China was to deprive the children of light for several years so that their bones would become deformed. At the same time they were fed certain foods and drugs that utterly debilitated them. Macgowan mentioned an Oriental priest who subjected a kidnapped boy to this treatment and then displayed him to incredulous observers, claiming he was a religious deity. The child looked like wax, having been fed a diet consisting mostly of lard. He squatted with his palms together and was a driveling idiot. The monk, Macgowan added, was arrested but managed to escape. His temple was burned to the ground.

According to the Federal Aviation Authority, airline securitycheck stations at airports have, since 1973, detected more than 15,000 firearms that passengers have tried to smuggle onto airplanes. More than 5,000 arrests have resulted from these discoveries.

In seventeenth-century Europe there were wandering bands of smugglers called comprachicos whose stock in trade was buying children, deforming them, and selling them to the aristocracy, who thought it fashionable to have freaks in court. The comprachicos' "arts" included stunting children's growth, placing muzzles on their faces to deform them (it was from this practice that Dumas took his theme for The Man in the Iron Mask), slitting their eyes, dislocating their joints, and malforming their bones. James 11 of England hired comprachicos to kidnap the heirs of families whose lines he wished to extinguish. Victor Hugo's The Man Who Laughs had a grotesque permanent smile carved by the comprachicos.


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