A year or so ago, I walked out of my condominium door on my way to work only to find that my car window had been busted out. I did what any citizen would do: call my boss and call the police. When the police arrived, I was quick to point out that “I hadn’t touched anything in case you need to dust for fingerprints.” At which point the officer said “One, it’s rained all morning and that would have washed away any useable evidence. Two, you watch too much CSI.”

I’ll freely admit that I’m a CSI, Law & Order, and every other cop and law show junkie. However, I’ve always had a theory that these kinds of shows can’t help but generate a smarter breed of criminal. A criminal with a fairly decent head on their shoulders and plenty of time to spend on a couch (I’m assuming they have plenty of time to watch television when they aren’t playing video games) can learn a lot from these shows.

And I’m assuming they have.

I live on the northwest side of Indianapolis. In the last few weeks our fire department has been called out to apartment complexes and the north side office complex known as “the Pyramids” in order to pull cars out of retention ponds. Witnesses say they saw a car in the water and when the divers entered the water, they found no one inside the car. The car was pulled out only to find out that wasn’t the car that was seen going into the water. So far, they’ve recovered five cars.

I’m wondering if we aren’t inadvertently making smarter criminals. After learning so much about DNA and fingerprint, and realizing that the CSI team can apparently find anything you leave behind, criminals opt to do the next best thing. Destroy all the evidence. They are dumping their cars, these crime scenes/evidence jars on wheels in retention ponds hoping to destroy any trace evidence. The best thing about destroying evidence using retention ponds is that it’s much more low key than, say, setting the car on fire.

Then again, I might be worrying prematurely. Reflecting on the car thief incident, someone went through the effort to steal a baby seat (one, not both of them, mind you), the Bible I had between the seats, and my wife’s 80s dance mix tapes. Tapes. 80s. Dance. Tapes. Maybe they aren’t getting that much smarter. Prisons are filled with all kinds of geniuses.

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