You, too, can catch criminals

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Anthropologist David Givens has decoded the body language of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein for the Department of Defense and now he's written a book to help the average person do the same thing.

In Crime Signals: How to Spot a Criminal Before You Become a Victim (St. Martin's, 210 pages, $24.95), Givens gives real-life examples of crimes and survival.

Crime Signals

How many times after a crime has been committed do you hear the words, "I should have seen the warning signs"? Truth is, the warning signs are usually there; we just aren't equipped to recognize them.

Givens maintains that nonverbal signals speak louder than words and cites high profile cases — Scott Peterson, for example — when discussing "the look of a lie."

"Throughout the investigation of Laci Peterson's disappearance, Scott Peterson showed few indications of grief or sadness," Givens writes. "He displayed no shock, remorse, surprise, disgust, or anger..."

In the end, those were the signals the jurors in Peterson's trial keyed in on. According to Givens, "In speech and demeanor, he was emphatically, nonverbally guilty."

Givens makes examples of other celebrity criminal cases — O.J. Simpson, Martha Stewart and Winona Ryder, to name a few — to illustrate other ways in which suspects give themselves away. It's an effective tactic; say what you will about media saturation of these events, but if they can be used to instruct the masses, as Givens does here, I'm all for it.

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"Throughout the investigation of Laci Peterson's disappearance, Scott Peterson showed few indications of grief or sadness," Givens writes. "He displayed no shock, remorse, surprise, disgust, or anger..."

Which shows what claptrap this is. First, who was with him 24/7? Second, all his life he has been quite phlegmatic - at least in public. You might remember that Susan Smith who drowned her sons behaved very much as the public expected. Scott Peterson, a man whose innocence was established by the facts of the trial, was convicted despite those facts because of rubbish like this.

It is another example of the junk science which Americans are far too susceptible to. Remember FC (facilitated communication)?


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This page contains a single entry by Teresa Budasi published on January 23, 2008 6:51 AM.

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