Sunday Snippet #123

Posted October 7, 2012 by Jen in Sunday Snippet Tags: ,

Sweet Deception

Author: Heather Snow

Veiled Seduction #2

Publisher: Signet

Released:  August 7, 2012


“You wrote to every magistrate in England?”

“It took weeks, but yes.  And most responded.  Many continue to send me reports quarterly.  It would be much simpler if England had a national system of crime reporting, as they do for births, deaths, mortality and such.”

“Hmmm.  I’m sure the policy makers see no monetary gain to be had in such an endeavor.”

She shrugged.  “They’re wrong, of course.  If we can spot patterns amongst types of crimes, find out who is committing them and more importantly why, we can address those core problems to reduce crime  Which will have immense monetary benefits.  And all of those answers lie in the numbers.”

He turned his startling green gaze on her.  “You were making some sense, Emma, but how can numbers tell you why a person committed a crime?”

A pleasant flush warmed her.  His interest invigorated her and she found herself relishing the challenge.  “Well, once I’d gathered the criminal statistics, I started comparing them to other numbers that are available nationally.”  She ticked them off on the fingers of her left hand as she named them.  “Such as the number of inhabitants of an area per condemned person, the number of boys in primary school in that district, the type of industry and wealth in the area.  And I’ve seen some startling patterns.”  She pointed to the map he was currently scanning and its array of blues and purples.  “See here?  Property crimes tend to happen in areas of higher education, for example, suggesting a more sophisticated criminal without the motivation of survival for his or her crimes.”

Derick peered at the map, scanning the numbers jotted alongside.  “I’d have expected the exact opposite.” 

“Exactly!”  Emma clasped Derick’s upper arm with both of hers, pulling him along to the next map to the right, this one colored with reds, yellows and oranges.  How right it felt, having him beside her, showing him her passion.  “And it’s not just who is committing the crimes that is of interest, but when they are committed.  For example, this map shows that crimes against persons occur most often during the summer months,.  Is it the heat?  Longer daylight hours?  Crimes against property tend to happen in the winter.  What could we do to combat those phenomena?”

She tugged him along to another one of greens, grays and golds before relinquishing her grasp on his arm.  “Other important factors are ‘where’ and ‘how many.’  This map proves that both personal and property crimes occur not just in higher numbers in urban areas – as we would expect – but also in higher percentages per capita versus rural areas.  So what is it about city life that makes people more disposed to crime?  Is it geographical?  Are the moral variables?  And if so, can we make policies to address them?  Better education, religious instruction, improved diet – there’s so much room for research.  And if I add in more variables – illegitimate births, for example, or age – “

“This is fascinating, Emma, but what is it you’re hoping to accomplish with it all?”

She turned away from her maps and faced Derick.  Numbers and variables were all well and good, and she could talk them all day long.  That’s what she understood.  But she wasn’t nearly as proficient with people.  If her work was ever going to actually help mankind, she’d need someone like Derick to take her ideas and help her make others understand.  “Most people, policy makers in particular, simply assume it is the poor and uneducated who commit most crimes.  Yes, there is more crime amongst the lower orders, but statistically speaking, that’s only true because there are more people amongst the lower orders.  When you look at the picture as a whole, crime mars all classes… the only difference is the type.  My research is proving that the way we look at crime and how to stop it is flawed.  We have to stop blaming the lack of proper breeding or bad blood, as some claim, and face the real issues.”

Derick frowned at her.  She knew from their discussion last night that he might be on the other side of that argument.  still,m if she couldn’t convince him, she’d have very little chance convincing anyone else.

“I believe all persons are born blank slates, and it is more the circumstances we are born into that shape who we become, the opportunities and examples we are given.  I intend to discover exactly what circumstances tend to breed what type of crime so we can figure out how to combat it.  We can change what becomes written on someone’s slate.  Before they become criminals.”

Derick’s hand came up, his thumb and forefinger cradling her chin.  Energy crackled all around Emma, stilling her breath and tingling in forbidden places.  His eyes squinted slightly as an enigmatic half smile lifted his mouth.  “My little Pygmy,” he murmured.  “Are you planning to save the world?”

“Yes,” she whispered, caught in his gaze.  Her hand came up to grasp his wrist, and she absently stroked the soft inner skin with her thumb.  Something sad and cynical crept into his eyes, coloring the green – a shadow of the pain she’d glimpsed last night.  She wanted to banish it for him.  Something in her knew that even more than she wanted to make the lives of Britons better, she wanted to help heal Derick Aveline.  She reached her other hand to his face, cupping his jaw.  “Yes,” she said again, aloud, more firmly than before.  “I am going to save the world.”

And I’m going to start with you, her heart whispered.

She stretched up on her toes and pulled his lips to hers.