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FraudTech     Dedicated To Beating The Cons At Their Own Game

Issues and Comments: Law Enforcement

Shots Fired

Before discussing this topic, let me say that I am not indicting the character of all Romani activists.  There are many who feel strongly about this topic, and are honest in reporting on and promoting their findings.  What I find difficult to understand are the methods used by some activists to thwart any attempts by law enforcement, and others, to control the crimes committed by the highly organized Gypsy criminal groups. 

The biggest criticisms about the way law enforcement handles the criminal element within the Romani society is that it is racially motivated and far different than the methods used to handle other criminal groups.  That such a view is wrong makes little difference to those who insist on labeling everything as racist or unfair.  Rather than attempts to decide who is right and who is wrong, more attention should be given to the overall reasonableness of the various positions on this topic.  In other words, which approach will be of greater benefit to both the Rom and the people they choose to live among?

The Romani Perspective:

The advice on how law enforcement should handle crimes committed by the criminal groups ranges from ignoring them, to helping locate appropriate role models within the Romani society in hopes that crime won’t be so appealing to future generations. 

More emphasis should be placed on discovering why some members of the Romani society have failed to integrate with the law-abiding Rom.

Romani leaders must be allowed to have a more active role in government, and greater latitude over all matters concerning the Romani people.

American Romani should be classified as an official minority group, and receive the full support and benefits made available to the other minorities.

Law enforcement must stop using the word Gypsy when speaking with the news media and the public.  This word should never appear in any police reports, training manuals, court documents, or in any other official document.

Law enforcement must not establish any special units, task forces, or organizations aimed at investigating Gypsy or Traveller organized criminal groups. 

Honest Rom should not be expected to police themselves.  Locating criminals is the job of the police.

Law enforcement officers need to better acquaint themselves with the ways and customs of the Romani people.  In this fashion, they can protect against the possibility of misunderstanding these people, and come to appreciate the unique differences that might otherwise be mistaken for antisocial or criminal behavior.

Neither law enforcement nor the government should conduct any special studies on either the Romani or Gypsies because they are not qualified, and therefore run the risk of drawing false conclusions.

Law enforcement and the news media should never quote subjects who claim to be representatives of the various Gypsy criminal clans because it might give the impression that all Rom are criminals.  Such spokespersons also represent an unfair sampling of the overall Romani population.

The police need to remind themselves that the Gypsies who do engage in criminal acts, never really harm anyone.  Their offenses are petty and should be treated as such.

The Law Enforcement Perspective

Imagine that you have just become a crime victim.  Would you be upset when learning that law enforcement knew how to prevent your victimization, but for various reasons chose not to make use of such safeguards?  If your answer is no, then you need not read any further because nothing here will hold your interest.  For those remaining, you need to know that the scenario listed above is actually taking place in the United States and abroad.

In the not so distant past, law enforcement knew little or nothing about the highly organized criminal groups who called themselves Gypsies.  Even though officers investigated the many crimes committed by such groups, seldom did their superficial investigations result in the identification of the suspects involved.  The officers and detectives knew the crimes were being committed at the hands of transient or iterant criminals, but exactly who those suspects were, or where they could be found, was a mystery they had little time to investigate.  Reports were taken, and the victims were advised to be more careful in the future. 

Each year, with predictable consistency, the same types of crimes would plague the community, and in many cases it involved the same victims as the year before.  Every now and then, by sheer luck, suspects would be caught in the act and questioned about their activities.  When the suspects began identifying themselves as Gypsies, most officers thought little of it, and proceeded to process the needed reports.  Without warning, the officers would receive a visit from someone claiming to be the King of Gypsies.  With more available cash on hand than a gaming casino, the King was quick to post whatever amount of money it took to gain the release of his humble subjects; all of whom he proclaimed had used poor judgment.

Soon after local police officers and the news media began attributing these crimes to the suspects who called themselves Gypsies, police intelligence officers, and crime analysts, made a discovery.  What was once thought to be the work of a disorganized band of petty thieves, transient criminals, or itinerant groups, were actually a part of numerous highly organized clans who called themselves Gypsies.  Membership to these clans was restricted to people of Romani ancestry, and their crimes followed a very identifiable and predictable pattern that did not match those of any other organized crime families.

Unlike the many other organized criminal groups, there was no effort underway by either federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies to investigate the extent of Gypsy clan’s involvement in crime.  Lacking any statistics, criminal analysts began collecting and synthesizing data from police departments throughout the United States.  So proficient had these analysts become at identifying these groups, their crimes, their method of operation, and the tactics they used to escape detection, that they could almost predict when, where, and at what time of day any given clan would strike.  Proof of this efficiency came in the form of increased arrests and fewer victims. 

This should exist as a good example of what can be accomplished through law enforcement training and networking, but like everything else related to this topic, nothing is ever as it seems.  Officers and members of the news media soon discovered that they were being portrayed as mindless racists who hindered the efforts of all law-abiding Romani.  It was not uncommon for law enforcement officers to receive  threats of impending lawsuits for defamation, and other assorted hate mail from groups such as The United States Romani Council.  Here’s a sample of one such letter: 

            Dear Sir

We have just been sent a copy of your remark where you tell America that we can only be Gypsies if we are criminals.  It’s racists like you who make life so difficult for us.  Why should we ever feel well disposed to your people, when you have done nothing but hound and persecute us since we first came in contact with each other?  Tell me one instance of when your people have ever offered us help, approached us with good intentions, or done anything constructive for us.  Your people are worse criminals than any of our people ever were.  Why don’t you study someone else and leave us alone?  Even now you are making a name for yourself off of us.  What are you giving back?

Comment: This particular letter was sent to a tenured cultural anthropologist from a major university.  The remark that served as the basis for this letter was a quote from a member of an active Gypsy clan who said, “We don’t care if other Roms want to call themselves Gypsies, but none of us considers them true Gypsies because they live a life no different than yours.  Then don’t follow our traditions, and they don’t have anything to do with us.”   On a personal note, the letter writer asked for “one instance of when your people have ever offered us help.”  Either the author was signing his name to a form letter, which he did not write, or he is completely ignorant of the vast numbers of non-Rom who have created, and who staff, the countless organizations that assist the Rom in ever way imaginable.

Here is an excerpt from another fulminating letter that was sent to a professional law enforcement organization after they published an article about Gypsy criminal groups in their newsletter:

          Dear Sir,

This piece of blatant racism cannot be allowed to circulate.  Would you refer to Jews or Italians, for example, as “mysterious cultural crime groups(s)?  The Encyclopedia of American Crime contains substantial entries on both Jewish and Italian organized crime in this country, yet has no such entry for Gypsy crime.  Your singling out and misrepresenting of Romani Americans as a population identified by its criminality is different in no respect from Nazi race theory designed to turn the public against Gypsies before Hitler’s program of genocide against them was eventually put into effect. Shame on your organization, sir, and shame on you for your hurtful prejudices.

Yanko le Redzosko (This is actually an alias used by a Romani professor who later said this was his “Gypsy name.”)

Comment:  This letter is a classic example of everything we have previously discussed.  It is based on one phrase that was taken out of context, and to support his unfounded allegations, the author displays the uncanny ability to defeat his own arguments.  In this instance, he makes it a crime to use the phrase “mysterious cultural crime groups,” and immediately asks if the organization would dare to use phrases like Italian or Jewish cultural crime groups. In answering his own rhetorical question, he immediately counters his own argument by pointing out the inclusion of Jewish and Italian organized crime groups in America.  He also knew that the law enforcement organization never attributed any negative attributes to the ROMANI people, and that they were speaking about the organized criminal groups who called themselves Gypsies.  About the only new entry in Mr. Redzozko’s letter was the introduction of the Nazi card.  Since this would become a tool, used to keep law enforcement and other such interlopers in their place, some further discussion is necessary.

No Better Than Hitler’s Nazis

Generally, as with the topic of Gypsy organized crime, when someone plays the Nazi card they don't have much of an argument.  As noted in a well-known maxim: The debate is over as soon as one side or the other is called a Nazi. Less well known is that the first side to play the "Nazi card" is clearly the loser of the debate.

This is how the Romani activists use the card to support their illogical theories.  To begin with, they immediately highlight the atrocities committed at the hands of Hitler’s Nazis when they slaughtered an estimated 500,000 Gypsies.  That this is indeed a horrible act that no one should ever forget goes without question.  That we should be reminded of such horror is also understandable because it guards against any possible reoccurrence. 

Using the reasonableness factor, you have to ask yourself if law enforcement efforts to investigate the activities of the Gypsy organized crime groups is akin to ethnic cleansing through extermination, or a campaign intended to encourage others to hate Romani people.  There is to my knowledge no law enforcement officers, and I know many of them, who believe that either the Romani or Gypsies are in anyway inferior, or predisposed to a life of crime.  Neither do they believe that any suspects accused of a crime should be denied equal protection under the law.  What they do believe, is that these criminal groups were not receiving the same attention as all the other groups, and that by removing the ease by which such clans operated, that it might encourage them to abandon their criminal lifestyle.

If the activists want to discredit themselves, then they need only insist on calling everyone a Nazi, a racist, a bigot, or an enemy of the Romani people.  Another way to accomplish this is the subject of the next section.

From Bad To Worse

As law enforcement became more proficient in controlling the crimes being committed by the various Gypsy clans, members within these groups suddenly discovered the benefits of using the Nazi card.   When all other attempts to escape accountability failed, which included bribing public officials, intimidating the victims, or fleeing the country, they resorted to using diversionary tactics. 

Soon into any court appearances the suspects would proclaim their heritage by saying they were persecuted Gypsies who received horrible treatment at the hands of the police. They were also quick to mention the horrible persecution their ancestors suffered at the hands of the Nazis.  This tactic actually worked for awhile because neither the judges or the prosecutors possessed very much knowledge about such groups, and none of them wanted to give the impression that they were in anyway unsympathetic to the plight of such a disadvantaged minority.  As more factual information became available, those views changed and each case was viewed solely on the suspects’ conduct rather then their ethnicity or alleged social status.

What came as a surprise to members of these criminal groups was the unexpected, though welcomed, support they were to receive from the Romani activists.  No longer would the Nazi card be necessary because the activists, for whatever their reasons, decided that most of the crimes being committed by these groups were not really crimes.  As they saw it, there was simply a misconception on the part of uninformed and racist cops who knew little or nothing about Gypsy customs and beliefs.  Herein enters the stereotyping defense. 

Activists who testified on behalf of the criminal element rationalized their questionable conduct by professing their keen awareness of both the law and Gypsy customs.  From this expertise, they were able to separate the true lawbreakers from the wrongfully accused.  They would, of course, refuse to represent any genuine lawbreakers. 

Heading the list of those suffering from stereotypical images were our nations Romani fortunetellers.  Never mind that such tellers were systematically cleaning out the bank accounts of their gullible, grief-stricken, or otherwise confused clientele, what they were doing was said to be no different from the activities of all those other American psychics, fortunetellers, and con artists.  Although this is the same as saying something wrong is okay because everyone else it doing it, such thoughts did not appear to hamper the activist’s efforts to represent their falsely accused clients.   

To the contrary, fortunetelling was portrayed as an ancient Gypsy tradition that was linked to religious beliefs, customs, and so on.  Those who promote the ancient customs theory have yet to make available the historical documents that explain how seizing someone’s credit card, and then systematically depleting their bank account, constitutes religious practices and not crimes.  Such activists have also chosen to ignore what others have said about these “ancient practices.”  Had they interviewed the fortunetellers within the Gypsy criminal groups, or the Romani police officers who grew up within such establishments, they might have discovered that these Gypsies neither believe in, nor practice fortunetelling among themselves.  As they see it, fortunetelling is merely a way of extracting lots of money from foolish non-Gypsies.  The activists unintentionally add to these facts when they point out that Gypsies have no more power to predict the future than does anyone else on this planet.  However, that line is usually used to support their theory on stereotyping. 

A Weapon Called Contempt

That some activists get a little carried away because they feel strongly about all issues affecting the Romani is understandable.  That they openly voice their concerns and opinions is also something no sensible person would argue against.  Where they cross the line, is when they chastise all others for being narrow-minded, racists, bigots, and insensitive to the feelings of the Romani people, while simultaneously duplicating the same activities they claim to hate.  This can at times become unbelievable.  To demonstrate the utter contempt that some activists have for anyone who disagrees with them, consider the words of a self-proclaimed scholar from Canada, who verbally attacked the daughter of a Washington State man who was killed by a self-described Gypsy clan.  After providing details on how the clan isolated and ultimately killed her father during a deadly version of the sweetheart scam, and of the mental anguish she suffered during attempts to save her father, the scholar, Wally Keeler, had this response:

“I can honestly say that in my half-century plus of life I have never met a man who was such an impotent loser as to fancy a woman year after year after year after year after year, spending thousands and thousands and thousands and not even a kiss.  How utterly pathetic you are.  This is not to say that you deserve murder or any other crime, but you were over 21, in control of your faculties, and responsible for yourself. Your pathetic sob story is sooooo believable.  No wonder "deep undercover" aka "skeptic68" finds your postings so agreeable.

So, tell me CB, what does this unfortunate occurrence to your father by a family who happen to be Gypsies, have to do with Gypsies in general?  What do the crimes of David Berkowitz have to do with white people?” National Geographic Site Link

Present Developments

At this point you are probably asking yourself where all of this constant bickering is going, and who if anyone it will ever help.  Based on current events I can tell you that the Romani activist groups have made what they consider to be great advances.  Some of their greater achievements include the dismantling of two effective police research groups in England and in Canada.  Despite the comprehensive reports both agencies had compiled on itinerant theft groups, which included mention of the Gypsy organized criminal groups, such activity was deemed racist and in need of immediate dismantling.  Discovering that these Gypsy and Traveller clans were linked to organized crime was clearly a painful reality that would have to be erased from the books. For their grievous offenses, the officers assigned to these units were transferred to duties that bore a strange resemblance to punishment. 

You can decide for yourself if such actions benefited anyone by reading the article listed elsewhere on this site. (Traveller Related Crime in the UK))  Since the officers in those countries have been properly put in their place, they now view any assignment to the investigation of crimes related to the Gypsies or Travelers, as a sign that they are not well liked by the superiors.  Although the activists made such reluctance possible, they are now upset and want the police to pay closer attention to the offenses being committed against the region’s Rom.

Although activists are forever condemning American’s version of these research groups or task forces, no such units have yet been disbanded.  At least not because of outside pressure.  What is taking place, is just as damaging.  Officers who are no longer willing to subject themselves to attacks on their character, or are tired of having to prove what should be obvious, have decided to return to business as usual, that is, ignoring the crimes committed by Gypsies or Travelers whenever possible.  This in turn allows such groups to increase their criminal activities with little fear of being apprehended. 

To believe that any benefits will be gained through ignoring such criminal groups, in hopes that they shall one day abandon their antisocial behavior, is nothing short of wishful thinking.  Add to this an expectation that all victims of these crimes will simply accept it as an unfortunate incident, and put the matter aside, and you have a recipe for disaster.  Rather than attacking, and creating, phantom problems and symptoms, the activists would do much better addressing root issues.  Pretending that crime is not an issue simple flies in the face of reality.  The evidence in support of this view exists in the history that some scholars now want to rewrite, and others simply choose to ignore.  And you don’t need to rely on history for such examples, because the events that exist today are there for anyone who cares to look. 

Food For Thought

At the risk of sounding like an alarmist or a conspiracy nut, there is another force at work within the Romani groups that has the potential to make history. 

While the Romani activists are vying for their piece of the America pie, that is, public funding to support their efforts, these attempts have not gone unnoticed by members within the criminal groups.  There exists ample documentation on various Romani web sites that show how some Rom, of unsavory character and in possession of extensive criminal records, have entrenched themselves into organizations with impressive sounding names such as the International Romani Union. In one such document, it was noted that “ Mr. Witold Lakatosz of New York, is in possession of documentation indicating that in 1991, he was sold the IRU presidency for several thousand dollars.”  Article site  As for Mr. Lakatosz, you can sample his background at the following site: Seminole Sheriff's Office

To his credit, Mr. Hancock did spot a scam in progress and took immediate steps to expose the situation.  Whether he was successful is not known.

Given the complexities of this topic, and the willingness of some government officials to view everything the activists offer as being the unfettered truth, there could well be a day when the victims of these organized crime groups will (through use of their tax dollars) in effect be supporting the criminals who victimized them. 

It has become obvious the activist groups invest vast amounts of time looking for and creating enemies.  Having determined that just about everyone on the planet who disagrees with their views fall into the enemy camp, it becomes unclear what they hope to accomplish.  I could be wrong, but if they do not know where they are going, then getting there will indeed be a most difficult journey.

Final Note:

Law enforcement, and others, shall continue to view and treat anyone who commits acts of aggression against others as lawbreakers.  Our employers, the public, have made it clear that they really do not care why such individuals or groups insist on committing these offenses, nor are they willing to extend any admiration to the aggressors because they did not physically harm them.  They simply want such people stopped.  During efforts to impede the activities of such aggressors, which happens to include organized criminal groups who call themselves Gypsies or Travelers, no one is advocating that they be treated any differently than the scores of other lawbreakers---only the same.   



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