Thursday 17 November 2016

More research needed. But.....


On The Rifkin Imperative

 Superhighway Robbery is a superb classic crime documentary, which is currently available for viewing on YouTube.   

There are many lessons to be learned from the cases explored in this high quality TV programme about how offenders exploit new technology and how industry, governments and police services respond in a virtual arms race (See Sutton 2012).
Most importantly, in this superb documentary we can see evidence of a human characteristic that we might name the: "Rifkin Imperative".
The story very early told in the documentary is that that despite Professor Stanley Mark Rifkin getting away with committing a $10 million computer fraud, and despite then laundering the stolen money successfully into "clean" diamonds, he just had to let someone know what he had done. Over the years, I've seen this apparent human characteristic lead to the detection of many serious offenders.
The "Rifkin Imperative" is essentially that many people - having gotten away with something they think defines them as very clever or very successful - feel that their clever deviant accomplishment is incomplete unless someone appreciates their greatness. After all, how can you feel complete as a "great and smart achiever" if no one in the world knows it was uniquely your personal great achievement?
More research is needed. For now, I think we should think of the "Rifkin Imperative" as a hypothesis in need of further criminological research. If confirmatory evidence is found for its universality, then law enforcement agencies - with a little lateral thinking - will know what to do when they have a suspect; or perhaps, even how to go fishing for one!
That said, my thinking here is far from original, because police officers are well aware of the potential for offenders to brag about serious crimes that they "got away with". For example, we know from recent history the dangers of police honey traps, such as that used in the Colin Stagg case   , where Stagg was fingered as a likely offender by criminal profiling.
With Stagg in their sights, as the local weirdo, the Metropolitan Police sought out his criminal bragging to a murder. To be precise, they surreptitiously sought from Stagg - in exchange for the promise of sex with an attractive undercover police officer - a confessional bragging that he had committed the 1992 Wimbledon Common murder of Rachel Nickell.
But Stagg never bragged, because he never did it.
The case was thrown out in court and police officers involved in the Stagg Case were admonished by the judge for what they did. Nonetheless, and most convolutely, the "Rifkn Imperative" is actually confirmed in this case. The reason being, whilst Stagg was innocent, the real killer - Robert Napper - had years before he confessed to being Rachel Nickell's killer - bragged to his mother in 1989 that he had raped a woman   ! Police failed to follow up when Napper's mother informed on him. Had they done so, then most surely, Rachel Nickell would not have been murdered and Colin Stagg would not have served 13 months in prison.
There will always be the problem to deal with of of those telling fantasy tales and feeling compelled to make false confessions.Meanwhile, to say it's early days in the research process is a massive understatement. Nevertheless, the Colin Stagg case sets the current score at 1--0 for The Rifkin Imperative versus offender profiling.

Further Reading

More on Stanley Rifkin here    .
More on Colin Stagg here   

A Criminological Comparison

The Metropolitan Police Service officers who bungled the Colin Stagg Case and top academic Darwinists who have bungled the history of discovery of natural selection have several key characteristics in common:
(1) Breathtaking incompetence, (2) blinkered decision making (3) "obscure person weirdofication" (4) wholesale failure to follow evidence.
See my post on the PatrickMathew blog    for a longer discussion on this precise topic, and all pages on    for an evidence-based analysis of all the facts.
POSTSCRIPT 4th April. 2014
  1. The gambling machine "Selfie Radiers" case is confirmatory evidence for the "Rifkin Imperative" …   

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