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This Group Knows You've Committed a Crime And Wants to Hear All About It

Have you ever committed a crime? Stop lying, you definitely have

smithsonian.com

Have you ever committed a crime?

Stop lying: you almost definitely have. Have you run a red light? Texted while driving? Used a fake ID? Bought pot? Most people have broken some sort of law. Most people just don't get caught. And now, one group is documenting the unknown criminal records we all secretly possess.

We Are All Criminals is a Minnesota-based group telling the stories of the three out of four people in the state that got away with their crimes. The group explains:

Participants in We Are All Criminals tell stories of crimes they got away with. While there are some exceptions, the majority of the people interviewed relayed numerous offenses. In most cases, only one of the stories has been cataloged.

The participants are doctors and lawyers, social workers and students, retailers and retirees who consider how very different their lives could have been had they been caught. The photographs, while protecting participants’ identities, convey personality: each is taken in the participant’s home, office, crime scene, or neighborhood.


Their point is less that we're all bad people, and more that those who are caught aren't really all that worse than the rest of us. Gail Rosenblum at the Star Tribune showed the project to Michael Friedman, the executive director of the Legal Rights Center in Minneapolis. “I don’t think I’ve come across anybody who has not committed crimes as a juvenile,” Friedman told Rosenblum. “Allowing society to use juvenile criminal records as a marker for someone’s potential success, or risk for employment or opportunity, is not scientific. It’s dangerous and discriminatory.”

You can submit your own stories of transgression on We Are All Criminal's website. Don't worry; we won't tell.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Can Computers Predict Crimes?
Law and Order: New Culinary Crimes

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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