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HowStuffWorks Government & Politics Guide  

Learn more about different types of government, politics and civic issues. Resources on different government agencies, citizenship, copyright and intellectual property, crime and legal system, elections and voting, emergency services and privacy concerns.
Last Updated: Nov 17, 2008 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Crime & Criminals

  • Quiz Yourself: Mafia
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  • 10 Terribly Bungled Crimes
    Every once in a while, we read about an amazing heist that required skill, cunning and thought. But for every one of those, there are many more that fail horribly.
  • 5 Impressive Art Heists
    While not every art heist can compare to the "Thomas Crown Affair," several jobs stand out for their ingenuity. How does a thief walk away with a multimillion dollar work of art?
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  • 7 Notorious Art Thefts
    Such famous artworks as 'Mona Lisa' and 'The Scream' have been stolen and returned; some have never been found. Art burglars either keep the artwork for themselves, or try to ransom it back to the original owner. Learn about 7 notorious art thefts.
  • Nine of History's Coldest Cases
    From the Zodiac killer to Jack the Ripper, many disturbed criminals have never been caught. These crimes became well-known in history because the crimes remain unsolved and the case technically remains open. Read about 9 of history's coldest cases
  • How Criminal Recycling Works
    There's a growing band of lawbreakers in town tarnishing recycling's squeaky green reputation. Who are these criminals, and why are they desperate for copper?
  • How Serial Killers Work
    What makes a person not only murder, but murder multiple people over days, weeks and even years? There's a special name for these types of murderers: serial killers.
  • How Diamond Thieves Work
    Diamond thieves can be clever criminals who orchestrate multimillion-dollar heists or small-time jewelers who switch the real thing for fakes. What makes stealing a diamond so attractive?
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    Practiced pickpockets are nimble and intelligent -- and they look just like everyone else. You'll be amazed to learn how easily they could take your hard-earned dollars without you even knowing it.
  • Do criminal psychopaths enjoy other people's fear or just not notice it?
    Psychopaths can commit horrible crimes without feeling any guilt at all. A recent study of psychopathic brains may shed some light on what's going on -- or not going on -- in these people's heads.
  • How could someone steal a painting from a museum?
    With modern security, how can thieves walk out of a museum with millions of dollars worth of art? It usually just takes force and a little bravado.
  • Why would a person make a false confession to a crime?
    In August 2006, John Mark Karr confessed to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. But some wondered whether the confession was accurate. Learn why people might confess to a crime that they didn't do.

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