18/12/2010 10 Comments
Last week, after a fairly late night in the pub, a friend of mine (I’m going to call him Bill Smith) was making his way home across town. Bill Smith needed to catch the Piccadilly line from Hammersmith to Green Park, then transfer to the Victoria line to take him down to Brixton where he lives. It’s a simple enough journey in normal circumstances but unfortunately Bill Smith was a bit pissed up. Actually he really was quite pissed up indeed.
Somewhere between Hammersmith and Green Park he fell asleep and when he awoke he was in Cockfosters. I, like everyone in London, has heard the name Cockfosters spoken over a tube tannoy many times before – it’s the where the Piccadilly line goes. Until last week though, no one had ever actually been there; the temptation to get off the tube seemingly always overpowering the curiosity to find out what it might be like.
Last week though, aided by a full quota of booze, Bill Smith woke up in Cockfosters on an empty tube train. Not even the tube driver was still there, presumably having bailed out at Oakwood. It was at this point that Bill’s luck took a turn for the worse. Not only were there no more tubes back, but at some point while he’d soundly slept, a crook had reached inside his coat and taken his phone and wallet.
“So how did you get back home?” I asked, when he recounted his tale of woe.
“I had to walk,” Bill replied.
We checked the distance on Google Maps. According to Google Maps it’s 14.5 miles.
(Google Maps assumes he took the most direct route and had the ability to walk in a straight line, neither of which are likely in the circumstances.)
“You walked 15 miles in sub-zero temperatures? Are you insane?”
“What would you have done?”
It was a good question. He lives alone, so even if he found someone else who’d let him use their phone, who was he going to call in the early hours of the morning. Then a genius idea struck me:
“I’d steal someone else’s phone and wallet.”
Some of you may also just have been struck by the pure genius of this. In case you haven’t though, I will explain.
A crime has been committed. There is The Victim (Bill Smith) and The Crook, I’ll call him Jeffrey Archer. Jeffrey Archer is a wallet and a phone up. Bill Smith is a wallet and a phone down.
We can summarise this using maths:
NetCrimeJeffreyArcher = Wallet + Phone
NetCrimeBillSmith = – (Wallet + Phone)
Note in maths, negative crime = Victimhood
Bill Smith now cunningly steals a phone and wallet from an innocent passer by. I’ll call him Steve Davis. Bill lost a phone and wallet but now has replacements. He is now neutral in proceedings and is free to leave. Now the maths looks like this:
NetCrimeJeffreyArcher = Wallet + Phone
NetCrimeBillSmith = (Wallet – Wallet) + (Phone – Phone) = 0
NetCrimeSteveDavis = – (Wallet + Phone)
Note that Bill Smith’s net crime is zero and Steve’s and Jeffrey’s exactly offset each other. This demonstrates the First Law of Crime Transference:
“In a closed system, the sum of all crimes equals zero.”
This law is also known as The Conservation of Crime.
It is also important to note that Bill Smith is no longer referred to as The Victim. Having transferred the crime he is now The Intermediary and Steve Davis becomes The Victim.
Steve Davis can either choose to remain The Victim or cunningly steal the phone and wallet of another passer by in which case the victimhood is transferred once more and Steve becomes an Intermediary. Most importantly, however Jeffrey Archer remains The Crook.
This may proceed as many times as needed until Jeffrey Archer is caught. At that time Bill Smith’s wallet and phone are returned to whoever the current Victim happens to be and everyone is happy except for Jeffrey Archer and he shouldn’t be happy anyway because he is a Crook.
Let’s look at another situation. Imagine one morning you step outside your front door all prepared for your journey into work to find that your car has been stolen. You look up the road and see a car of equivalent value. Under my scheme, that’s yours!
Note it has to be of equivalent value. If your Nissan Micra got nicked you can’t steal your neighbour’s Ferrari. If you did that you would actually be a Net Crook for the theft of a car of the value of a Ferrari minus the value of a Nissan Micra:
NetCrimeJeffreyArcher = Nissan Micra
NetCrimeYou = (Ferrari – Nissan Micra) = Porsche
(Note in this scenario we are making the reasonable assumption that your car was stolen by Jeffrey Archer.)
This demonstrates The Second Law of Crime Transference:
“To finish criminally neutral, the sum of the crimes a Victim may commit be must exactly equivalent to the one which was inflicted upon him or her. Otherwise they will finish a net Crook or a net Victim.”
It is important to note it is the sum of the crimes. Therefore you could steal your neighbour’s Nissan Micra, or you could steal several things of lesser value which add up to the same overall amount e.g. two motorbikes.
The final law of crime transference deals with the type of crimes to which crime transference can be applied. Some crimes are non-transferable. If someone beats you up, simply beating someone else up does not make things neutral as you are still all beaten up.
Example. Jeffrey Archer beats up Jimmy Krankie. Jimmy Krankie then beats up Audley Harrison. Here are the maths:
NetCrimeJeffreyArcher = Beating Someone Up
NetCrimeJimmyKrankie = Beating Someone Up
NetCrimeAudleyHarrison = – (Beating Someone Up)
Note that because this crime is non-transferable, Jimmy can’t take the fact that he was beaten up into account – he is a Net Crook. This scenario is also an obvious violation of the First Law of Crime Transference.
(Note also that this refers to a standard beating up – if Jeffrey Archer had simply stolen a kidney from Jimmy Krankie and Jimmy then stole one from Audley Harrison then it would be classified a transferable crime and Jimmy Krankie could go free.)
Therefore The Third Law of Crime Transference is:
“A crime is only transferable if the state of the Intermediary will remain unchanged after transference.”
And so concludes the three laws of Crime Transference – “But wait!” I hear you cry, “Crime transference does NOT reduce overall crime!”
No. It doesn’t. I never claimed it did. Crime transference just makes our lives easier if we’re caught in a tricky situation and I’ll explain how. At each stage of the crime transfer the Intermediary can decide if:
- The crime really inconvenienced them and they need to transfer it
- They fucking hated their Micra anyway, have an excuse not to turn up to work and can get the insurance money and buy a Cinquecento instead
In Bill Smith’s case there would be a great benefit to him to transfer the crime. He transferred it onto Steve Davis. Perhaps Steve Davis lived a 5 minute walk away in which case he wouldn’t have bothered transferring it. If he too lived a 5 hour walk away then he would simply have transferred it and we’d have kept going until it landed on someone for whom it was a lesser inconvenience.
Government cuts are only going to push overall crime in one direction. In circumstances such as these, wouldn’t we all rather have this choice?