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1940 to 1959


1940-1945: Peak period in U.S. for true-crime type detective magazines

1940: Abe Reles turned state’s evidence and U.S. public learned of Murder Inc. and the nature of organized crime

1943: Sir Harry Oakes Case – Bahamas – murder
------ The Detroit Race Riot

1944: Organized crime figure Lepke Buchalter died in the electric chair

1946: Lucky Luciano was deported after serving a 10 year prison term
------ Bugsy Siegel opened the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas

1947: Micky Spillane published his first detective novel
------ Black Dahlia Case – U.S. – murder
------ Bugsy Siegel killed in Beverly Hills

1948: Chessman Case – U.S. – kidnapping
------ In NYC there were 51 Driving While Intoxicated convictions

1950: Brinks Case – U.S. – robbery
------ Since 1900, 7 mass murder cases in U.S. (7 or more victims)

1951: Kenneth Skinner Case – U.S. – arson/murder

1953: Vincent Ciucci Case – U.S. – arson/murder
------ John Christie Case – England – murder

1955: Jack Gilbert Graham Case – U.S. – murder
------ George Fisher Case – U.S. – arson
------ England – the last woman was hanged in Great Britain

1957: Organized crime figure Albert Anastasia killed
------ Organized crime meeting at Apalachin, New York
------ Genovese – Costello organized crime war

1958: Richard Starkweather Case – U.S. – mass murder

Forensic Science

1940-1946: Europe – Scientific work in criminalistics severely slowed down by WWII

1940: Russia – Scientists found that blood reliquefies after death
------ By this time there were forensic science institutes and crime labs all over the world
------ Samuel Morgan Case – England – textile clue

1941: Swiss forensic serologist Franz Josef Holzer discovered blood factors M and N. At this time scientists knew that all human secretions have group characteristics

1942: Harry Dobkins Case – England – forensic dentistry

1943: Police Department at Glasgow, Scotland started a crime lab
------ Persico Case – U.S. – forensic serology

1945-1955: French, British, and American serologists made many advances in forensic serology

1945: “Drunkometer” developed by Dr. R.N. Harger of Indiana University

1946: Germany – Robert Heindl formed a police laboratory at Munich

1947: An American court admitted a recorded confession
------ Dr. Bernard Spilsbury killed himself

1948: The American Academy of Forensic Science was founded
------ Only 6 or so U.S. city police departments had crime labs
------ Peter Griffiths Case – England – fingerprinting
------ John Holmstrom replaced O.W. Wilson as head of the Institute of Criminology and Criminalistics at the University of California at Berkeley

1949: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police established a major crime lab in Quebec
------ Criminalists, in an English murder case, matched the victim’s bite marks with the defendant’s teeth
------ Albert Guay Case – Canada – explosive traces

1950-1959: Forensic medicine began losing its position as the center of forensic science

1950: Of 70 coroners in Wisconsin, 33 were morticians

1951: The French toxicologist Henri Griffon was the first to use Neutron Activation Analysis to detect traces of poison in hair
------ Swiss criminalist Max Frei-Sulzer was the first to use adhesive tape at the crime scene to collect microscopic trace evidence

1952: Gas Chromatography was, by this time, perfected

1953: California criminalist, and professor of criminalistics at Berkeley, Paul Kirk published Crime Investigation. It would become a classic text
------ Swiss forensic scientist Ernst P. Martin was head of the Basel Police Department crime lab where he did important work concerning the identification of paper and writing materials

1954: Dr. Milton Helpern became the 3rd chief medical examiner of New York City
------ Sam Sheppard Case – U.S. – forensic serology/forensic hypnosis

1955: Canadian Robert E. Jervis, in 3 cases, made the first practical application of Neutron Activation Analysis to determine traces of poison
------ American forensic pathologists Lemoyne Snyder developed Quieloscopy

1956: Boost Case – Germany – forensic serology

1958: Charles Zumbach Case – Switzerland – forensic serology
------ Gaestave Bouchard Case – Canada – NAA
------ English criminalist Wilson R. Harrison published Suspect Documents: Their Scientific Examination
------ German and Swiss serologists discovered how to group blood through microscopic examination

Law Enforcement

1942: John J. O’Connell was appointed chief inspector, NYPD

1946: Interpol was established near Paris

1948: Canine units reduced mugging and purse-snatching in Hyde Park

1949: Chief Fire Marshal of NYC, Thomas P. Brody, retired after investigating over 100,000 fires

1950-1959: Most police administrators in the U.S. were primarily concerned with police professionalism and integrity

1950: William H. Parker was appointed chief of the LAPD. Parker was a major spokesman for police professionalism.
------ O.W. Wilson published, Police Administration, a major work in the field
------ The Senate Kefauver Committee investigated organized crime
------ The FBI initiated its “10 most wanted list” program

1952: The California Commission on Peace Officers and Training was organized

1954: The LAPD constructed a large police training complex and academy at Sacramento

1955: August Vollmer died.

1956: Charles E. O’Hara published his college text, Fundamentals of Criminal Investigation
------ The FBI’s Identification Bureau had 140 million fingerprints

1957: Senator John L. McClellan’s Rackets Committee began its organized crime hearings
------ The Baltimore Police Department was the first in the U.S. to establish a successful canine unit

1958: Peter J. Pitchess was elected Sheriff of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office
------ American Hugh C. McDonald (LAPD) invented the “Identi-Kit”
------ American Peter Smith (NYPD) invented the “Imagemaker”
------ Philadelphia was one of the first cities to establish a police civilian review board

Criminal Law

1948: England- The Criminal Justice Act of 1948 was passed. Flogging was forbidden except for prison mutiny and gross violence to prison officers

Crime Prevention and Private Security

1946: An Eastern U.S. Bank, in an embezzlement case, gave 60 of its employees a lie detector test

1948: Crime novelist Erle Stanley Gardner formed the “Court of Last Resort”

1954: George R. Wackenhut founded his security company at Miami, Florida

1955: The American Society for Industrial Security was founded (ASIS)

1957: The Wackenhut Corporation was hired by the Dade County Grand Jury to investigate crime and corruption in Miami, Florida

1959: Brink’s Incorporated had 112 branch offices and 1026 armored cars handling an average of 1 1/3 billion dollars a day

This page was last updated on: Monday, January 14, 2008

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A. James Fisher
Dept. of Political Science & Criminal Justice, 146 Hendricks Hall
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA 16444
e-mail: jfisher@edinboro.edu blog: http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com