"Every society has the criminals that it deserves.
" - Havelock Ellis
Crime refers to a prohibited act which violates the provisions of law, is
detrimental and deleterious for the society, and is punishable under various
provisions of law. The term crime has been derived from the Latin term crīmen
which means 'charge' or 'cry of distress'. The Latin cognate has been derived
from the ancient Greek term κρίμα, krima which referred to an intellectual
mistake or an offence against the society, rather than a private or moral wrong.
William Blackstone has defined crime in his book, Commentaries on the Laws of
England as 'An act committed or omitted in violation of public law forbidding or
Many researchers and criminologists have researched and written about the
relationship between Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and crime and have found a
positive relationship between them. IQ has been considered one of the most
important correlates of crime. It has been found that people with a low IQ are
more likely to commit crimes however, this does not mean that people with higher
IQ do not commit crimes.
The world has seen many cases where the offenders have been people of high
intellectual level however, instead of making positive use of their
intelligence, they derivated towards committing felonious and illegal acts. It
has been seen that people with a higher intelligent quotient are more likely to
commit their crime in a unique and clever way, leaving behind no trace which
would land them in trouble.
A Portrait of High-IQ Offenders, written by James C. Oleson throws light on the
offences committed by high IQ individuals. Through a sample James has
demonstrated that individuals with an IQ score of 130 or above may commit more
offences than those who have a lower IQ.
The world history is full of cases where highly intelligent people have been
perpetrators of crime. If we take a look at the Indian mythology we realise that
Ravana in the Ramayana and Shakuni in the Mahabharata were highly intellectual
people however, they chose to walk on the path of crime and committed heinous
offences. However, one cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that they were
masterminds and used their prowess to commit those crimes and wrongdoings.
It is often seen that low IQ individuals are more prone to delve into criminal
activities however, high IQ people might also commit crimes, though such cases
are not as frequent as the ones committed by people of low IQ. Many a times
intelligent people may feel that there is no point in regarding and following
the laws as they feel that those who formulate and implement those laws
themselves do not follow them.
Secondly some may question the very existence of humans and may consider it
meaningless thus consider the laws governing human behaviour equally
Some may think that they are too intelligent and prodigious and that they are
above the law and do not deserve to be governed by laws made by average people,
hence to show their supremacy, they may devise innovative, unique and ingenious
ways of committing crimes to show their cleverness and intelligence to the
Some geniuses may also feel that their intelligence is not appreciated by the
world and hence to show that they are astute and exceptional, they may delve
into criminal activities and execute those crimes immaculately to show their
Cases Of Intelligence On The Wrong Side Of Law
There are innumerable cases around the world where the perpetrators of crime
have been carried out their crimes in such a clever and intelligent way that it
was almost impossible to understand the way in which it was carried out and also
to catch those offenders. These masterminds used such unique and sagacious ways
to execute their criminal activities that it was almost impossible to catch
them. A few of them have been discussed below:
Carl Gugasian: Also known as the 'Friday Night Bank Robber; Carl is considered one of the
most prolific criminals in America. He robbed more than 50 banks in 30 years
and robbed more than $2 million. He planned and executed all his robberies
in a methodical and meticulous way. He would carry out his robberies on
Fridays, just before the bank was about to be closed thus giving him the
name Friday Night Bank Robber.
For the robbery, he would wear a horrendous mask, resembling a character
from a horror movie, and would wear bulky clothes. Once he reached the
counter, he would land on the other side in a standing jump, scaring the
customers, then he would stuff as much money as he could and would leave as
fast as possible. All this would take not more than two minutes. His initial
115 years imprisonment was reduced to 17 years. At the age of 69, he was
released in 2017
Victor Lustig: Regarded as one of the most notorious con artist of all
times, Victor Lustig was a con artist from Austria-Hungary who scammed people
around America and Europe. He is infamous for selling the Eiffel Tower twice and
carrying out the 'Romanian box' scam. Lustig was a gifted child however he
embarked on the life of crime.
Lustig invited a small group of scrap metal dealers in a luxurious hotel and
introduced himself as the Deputy Director-General of the Minist�re de Postes et
T�l�graphes. While talking to the dears he noticed Andr� Poisson: an insecure
businessman who wanted to rise in the Parisian business community.
up a meeting with Andr� Poisson and made him believe that the deal of the Eiffel
Tower would get him a place amongst the top businessmen of Paris. Andr� Poisson
agreed to pay a sum of 70,000 Francs to Lustig and Lustig ran away with the
money to Austria. Out of shame and embarrassment, Andr� Poisson failed to inform
the police about the scam and Lustig managed to return back to Paris.
Gerald Blanchard: A Canadian citizen, Gerald Daniel Blanchard is known for
carrying out complex frauds and heists in three continents. In 1998, Gerald
stole the Star of Empress Sisi, one of the 27 diamond-and-pearl hair ornaments
of Elisabeth of Bavaria, from the Sch�nbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria. Gerald
disabled the security alarm and replaced the real jewel with a replica purchased
from a souvenir shop.
After two weeks it was discovered that the jewel was a
replica and that the real jewel had been stolen. Gerals himself offered to
return the jewel to the police following his arrest in Canada on charges of
fraud and robbery. After being released, Gerald Blanchard started a new career
as a security consultant.
The Pink Panthers: The Pink Panthers is an organization of international
jewel thieves responsible for a number of robberies and thefts described as some
of the most audacious crimes. The organization around 800 core members,
including both men and women. Their crimes have been described as glamorous and
artistic. The organization gained attention after they robbed a �500,000 diamond
from the Mayfair area of London. In 6 years, the Pink Panthers robbed 120 stores
in 20 countries.
The Pink Panthers are suspected of robberies in the Ginza
district of Tokyo. In 2004 they robbed gems of �3.5 million. In June 2007, they
robbed jewellery valued �284 million. The gang is also involved of robberies of
�8 million in Dubai, US$100 million in Paris and $136 million worth of jewels
and jewellery in Cannes. At present there is quite little activity from the Pink
Natwarlal: Born as Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava, Natwarlal is an Indian
fraudster known for high profile crimes and escapes from prison. He is infamous
for selling the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort, the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the
Parliament of India. He is known as the biggest con man in the Indian history.
He is said to have duped jewellers, shop owners, foreigners and bank owners of
lakhs of rupees. He is said to have sold the Parliament of India to a foreigner
along with the members of the Parliament.
Leonardo Notarbartolo: Known as the largest diamond heist of all times, the
Antwerp diamond heist is known as the "heist of the century". It is one of the
largest robberies in the world history. The thieves stole diamonds, gold, silver
and other jewellery worth $100 million. The vault where the diamonds were kept
safe was protected by many security mechanisms, including a lock which had 100
million possible combinations, infrared heat detectors, a seismic sensor, a
Doppler radar and even a magnetic field.
The building also had private security
force and was heavily guarded; in short it was almost impossible to steal any
valuables from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre. Notarbartolo and four other
Italian thieves, with their sheer intelligence and cleverness, were able to run
off with all the costly diamonds and other jewellery from a highly protected
Rodney Alcala: Also known as the Dating Game Serial Killer, Rodney Alcala
was one of the smartest and most notorious serial killers known to the human
kind. With an IQ of 170 he was a cold-blooded murderer and even took part in the
famous TV show The Dating Game and even won the date. More than 1000 pictures of
his crimes were found by the investigators however, he was proved guilty of only
five of them. Rodney Alcala could have proved to be a boon for the mankind had
he used his mental prowess in a positive direction, however, he chose the path
Theodore John Kaczynski: Also known as Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski was a
domestic terrorist, an anarchist, and a mathematical prodigy. Ted was only 15
years old when he got accepted into the Harvard University and also gained a PhD
in Mathematics from the University of Michigan. With an IQ of 167, Ted worked at
the University of California and then decided to live "off the grid." He learnt
to make explosives from scrap materials. Between the years 1978 and 1995, Ted
Kaczynski killed three people and injured 23 others. About 16 bombs were
attributed to Ted Kaczynski.
Though the intelligent commission of crimes by some clever offenders has made it
almost impossible to catch them yet the police and security forces around the
world have been able to catch hold of almost all such ingenious offenders and
the law has punished them in accordance with their crimes. However, there is a
need to tap and train such highly intelligent people in such a way that their
intelligence can be used for the good of the mankind.
People who commit crimes in such extraordinary ways cannot be average people;
such people tend to be highly intelligent and have a high potential, the need is
to ensure that such intelligent people indulge in positive activities which
could prove to be beneficial for the human race. The need is not just to punish
criminals in accordance to their crimes but also to ensure that those criminals
walk on the right path when they are freed and also put in use the intelligence
of the geniuses who commit crimes.
Written By: Akshita Tandon
- Crime, https://thefactfactor.com/facts/law/legal_concepts/criminology/what-is-crime-and-criminology/7004/
,(Visited on 17 Augsut,2022).
- 4th Year Law Student, University
Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, Punjab