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Excerpt from book:
CHAPTER H WHO ARE THE REAL CRIMINALS? Some reader of the preceding chapter may perhaps remark, "This is all very well so far as it goes. It doubtless is entirely true from a purely technical point of view. But that is only one side of the matter. How about the real criminals?" This is neither an unexpected nor an uninvited criticism. Who are the "real" criminals? Charles Dudley Warner says: "Speaking technically, we put in that [the criminal] class those whose sole occupation is crime, who live upon it as a profession and who have no other permanent industry. They prey upon society. They are by their acts at war upon it and are outlaws." Now the class of professional criminals to which Mr. Warner refers as contrasted with the great mass of criminal defendants as a whole is, in point of fact, relatively so small, and so easily recognized and handled, that it plays but an inconspicuous part in the administration of criminal justice. The criminals who conform accurately to childhood's tradition are comparatively few in number. The masked highwayman, the safe-cracker and even the armed house burglar have, with a few exceptions, long since withdrawn from the actual pursuit of their romantic professions and exist practically only in the eagerly devoured pages of Sherlock Holmes and the " memoirs of great detectives." New andalmost more picturesque figures have taken their places,the polite and elegant swindler, the out-at- the-elbows but confidence-inspiring promoter of as- setless corporations, the dealer in worthless securities, and the forger who drives in his own carriage to the bank he intends to defraud. In some cases the individuals are the same, the safe-cracker merely having doffed his mask in favor of the silk hat of Nassau Street. Of yore he stole valuable securities ...