Criminals are or are not stupid?

Criminals are or are not stupid?

This is a discussion on Criminals are or are not stupid? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I can't be sure in what category I might belong (well, I'm not a criminal, I'm referring to intelligence) . However, in general, I think ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Criminals are or are not stupid?

    I can't be sure in what category I might belong (well, I'm not a criminal, I'm referring to intelligence) . However, in general, I think few people are intelligent.

    I see many posts that indicate how stupid the average criminal is. Since I think most people are stupid, I guess I could agree so are most criminals.

    Now I'm not sure. In this thread, I challenge the belief that somehow criminals are less intellegent than the average person. I'm thinking, the criminal might show signs of greater intelligence. They are less honorable, scum, and the spawn of most of what is evil in the world. However this does not make them less smart or clever then their prey.

    For example, how many criminals choose to be armed, and consider the average person chooses not to be.
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    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    True, but most criminals risk their lives or freedom for an amount in someone's wallet, cash register, or what they can carry away. The average person probably will never face a criminal.

  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    I agree that there is some lack of intelligence displayed by being willing to sacrifice your freedom for a few bucks. However, that's only one type of intelligence: 'common sense', or practical intelligence. There are plenty of people who make stupid decisions and yet at the same time may excel at things you may consider the domain of the 'smart', like math or science.

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    Some are stupid, some are brilliant and some are brilliantly stupid.
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    Here's to more brilliantly stupid criminals.
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    Ex Member Array PNUT's Avatar
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    I would imagine that the average criminals intelligence runs the gamut, just like the non criminals. You don't have to be dumb to do stupid things. I wouldn't be surprised though if the average criminal is typically less educated than the non-criminal. I don't have stats, just taking a guess.
    For example, Bernie Madoff was no dummy, neither was Micheal Milken , some of the drug gangs are huge businesses that have to take at least some cunning to run if not intelligence.
    Criminals do go into it thinking 'Hmmm, I'm going to trade 5 years in jail for a guys wallet", they don't plan on being caught.

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    Member Array TravisABQ's Avatar
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    I think too many people presume that criminals are stupid.

    A predator may calculate that you fancy yourself better than you are, he may be able to observe where you are carrying a gun, and he may have seen the "throw the fake wallet" trick.

    Don't underestimate the opposition.

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PNUT View Post
    ...I wouldn't be surprised though if the average criminal is typically less educated than the non-criminal. I don't have stats, just taking a guess...
    You have to be correct. However, education does not equate to intellegence so much as knowledge. For example, you would think a drug dealer knows more about drug dealing then a chemist, but chemist might know more about the drug. Also have to consider white collar crime is undetected or, if detected, it is not reported (and I would think white collar crime would be the educated ones). In addition, the lack of educated opportunities could result in the greater likelyhood of criminal activity (at the very least more blue vs white collar types).

    Quote Originally Posted by nedrgr21 View Post
    ...criminals risk their lives or freedom for an amount in someone's wallet, cash register, or what they can carry away...
    Good overall point. The risk reward is far greater for the criminal. However, I wonder how often the average person puts themselves in compromising situations with little reward. Could be a wash.

    Quote Originally Posted by TravisABQ View Post
    ...A predator may calculate that you fancy yourself better than you are...Don't underestimate the opposition.
    I think that is an interesting flaw to intelligence. It lulls you into underestimation. Sometimes the best laid plans, however clever, are defeated by chance, opportunity, or just plain brawn and wickedness.
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    Also consider your study sample... "criminals" are usually only discovered/labeled as such after they're caught. I bet fewer smart criminals are caught than dumb criminals, which may skew the exercise.

    In addition, lots of drug dealers, etc., while not areospace engineering PhDs, are really, really smart (if not terribly cerebral) and motivated, along with being tough and ruthless, even on a street level...Darwinism is in full effect on many streetcorners and he breeds them strong.

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    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AgentX View Post
    Also consider your study sample... "criminals" are usually only discovered/labeled as such after they're caught. I bet fewer smart criminals are caught than dumb criminals, which may skew the exercise...
    Interesting take.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by AgentX View Post
    ...In addition, lots of drug dealers, etc., while not areospace engineering PhDs, are really, really smart (if not terribly cerebral) and motivated, along with being tough and ruthless, even on a street level...Darwinism is in full effect on many streetcorners...
    Good point...
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  12. #12
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    Many Americans are uninformed and totally uninterested in anything that does not affect their small circle. That does not mean that they are technically dumb. They can actually be fairly brilliant in a select few areas.
    We are fortunate that a majority of street criminals are not super "Gun Smart" and are not highly trained regarding firearms.
    At least I don't believe that most are because most lack the basic discipline to train. That does not mean that they don't get very lucky sometimes.
    Many criminal types that are not School Smart are very Street Smart.
    They are cunning and sly and can run very effective and organized scam operations.
    That is true....the criminals that never get caught are never labeled criminals because nobody knows that they are. They are quite smart.
    Some criminals that DO get caught were only ever caught due to a fluke event. They are also very intelligent but, just had some dumb luck on one occasion.
    Some HIGHLY INTELLIGENT people can become incredibly stupid criminals and murderers especially when it comes to police science, forensics, and trace evidence in general. They are EASILY caught but, are still intelligent people.
    Interesting thread. I could go on and on but, I'll let others chime in.

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    Depends, are we including politicians in this? Or just your typical smash and grab type street thug?

    I would be prone to say the smash and grab street thug is stupid. To risk his life or liberty for a few bucks is, of course, stupid. On the other hand, if they don't have any priors and their justice system is crowded, they can just about count on a freebie. So, I would say, the smash and grab, small time, repeat offender is, indeed stupid.

    As far as the Madoff's or Geitner's, those guys are highly intelligent. The reward far outweighs the risk. For those guys, the longer they can get away with not paying their taxes or swindling millions, the more interest they rack up, and even when they get caught, the Feds will never find all the money.

    So, in general, I would have to say it runs the gambit. The guy who risks 'three strikes' after two priors for a few bucks is stupid, and unpredictable. The guy who risks a few years in a country club type prison(or cabinet position) for millions of dollars is on the other end of the spectrum.
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    We see the dumb ones on TV all the time; they are your average street thugs and common thieves.

    We also see the smart ones on TV all the time; the smart ones become POLITICIANS.
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    At least some of them are not so bright...Dumb Criminals Stupid Criminals, Dumb Crooks, and Funny Crimes
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