Thirty years a detective - PDF book by Allan Pinkerton

Thirty years a detective

Thirty years a detective


a thorough and comprehensive exposé of criminal practices of all grades and classes, containing numerous episodes of personal experience in the detection of criminals and covering thirty years' active detective life


From Introduction:

In the preparation of the present work, I have endeavoured to carry into effect an idea I have entertained for several years. A purpose long considered, and the execution of which has occupied much of my time has at length assumed definite shape and tangible form.

 The knowledge which the general public acquires of the transactions of the criminal classes is, at the best, but meagre and unsatisfying. Fragmentary newspaper items — an abstract report of important trials, and, at times, costly personal experiences, have been the only means by which the reading public have been informed of the operations of a class of people whose numbers are enormous, and whose depredations are of daily occurrence. 

If the total amount of the dishonest appropriations of a single year could be ascertained, the sum would be appalling and almost incredible, and yet, as widespread as are the operations of the criminal, as universal his existence, and as fabulous the amount of which the public are annually plundered, the large majority of the sufferers to day, are in ignorance of how their goods and valuables have disappeared. 

A bank, strong and seemingly impregnable, is entered between twilight and dawn. Vaults that were guaranteed to withstand any efforts that might be made against them, have in an incredibly short space of time, yielded to the skill of the burglar, and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been successfully carried away before suspicion is aroused, or an alarm sounded. Stores and dwellings have: been broken into, under the very eyes of expert watchmen, and, despite every ingenious safeguard and protection, the midnight robbers have effected their escape with the property of their unconscious victims. 

In broad daylight banks, moneyed institutions and 'financial firms, have been defrauded of vast sums of money by the expert forger, the sneak-thief, and the counterfeiter. Individuals of all classes have fallen victims to the horde of dishonest men and women who infest our communities — and yet the public is unaware of the means employed to effect their ruin or the modes by which their disasters were accomplished.

 This information I now propose to give, in hope that by a widespread publication of the methods and plans of the criminal, I may be able to restrict his operations, impede his efforts, and prevent his disastrous successes. Prompt and energetic detection has done much to prevent the spread of crime, and to limit the radius of criminal operations. 

A robbery of an Express Company by a professional .thief is now no longer attempted; and by my efforts in the detection of the criminals who made these corporations their victims for many years, this result has principally been accomplished. It is true, the battle was a long, fierce and costly one, but in the end, the burglars and thieves were compelled to yield — the detectives were the conquerors, the robbers were sent to prison, and the result is that the express companies to-day enjoy an almost thorough immunity from depredation. This is also the case with the larger banking institutions

. A vigorous process of detection and an unrelenting administration of justice, have awed the more ambitious of the criminal fraternity and secured enforced protection for the mammoth financial institutions of the country.

 While this is true to a great and satisfying extent, it is also certain that the number of criminals of all grades has increased to wonderful proportions, and their modes of working and plans of operations have reached a degree of scientific perfection never before attained. During my career as a detective, which has extended over more than thirty-six years, I have been engaged in active association with crime and criminals of every grade and condition. From the most skilful operator to the mere tyro in dishonest practices, they have all come within the scope of my ex perience, and as a natural consequence,

Author: Allan Pinkerton
 Publication Date:1900


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