Criminals are often very secretive. By keeping secrets and sustaining an air of mystery about their comings and goings, they maintain power and control over others. Many criminals believe that if they tell their secrets, if another person gets to know them intimately, they will no longer have power over them.
Others keep secrets because of a fear of rejection. For recovering addicts, it can be embarrassing and intimate to reveal struggles with substance abuse. Someone who is still actively hopped up on narcotics will keep that a secret, because they may be afraid you will turn them in. Sex offenders are the most likely to keep their past a secret, due to the heavy shame and stigma around sex crimes.
On the most basic level, criminals are secretive about their crimes of opportunity. They may see a dangling purse or an unlocked car. They aren't thinking about consequences because they don't expect to get caught. They figure they'll be in and back out before you know what happened. You’ll never find out it was them.
Secrecy is a big part of gangs. They get very upset if outsiders somehow get inside information about the way they operate. They like the sense of belonging, the sense of community, the idea that others don’t see things the way we do. They like the power, the connectedness, that feeling of finally fitting in and having a purpose. That is what keeps the gang going, and they don’t want the secrets of their club to be exposed.
With regard to organized crime, these unlawful acts are well coordinated and planned out in advance. At this level, there is experience and practiced precautions, all the team members have an awareness of the risks, and would never divulge the actions of the others. If they did, they might be killed. Undercover agents who try to infiltrate the organization may also be killed before they can disclose what they learned.
If there’s a criminal living next door, he is probably leading a double life. There will be a secretive dimension to his comings and goings. He won’t want his neighbors to know what he’s up to – even when he is just going about his daily business. How many times have you heard about an arrest on the news, and all the neighbors said the same thing. “We were so surprised to hear this about Mr. Smith. He was such a quiet neighbor, always polite. We never imagined he would/could do such a thing.”
Continue to Chapter 14