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Talk the Talk: An A – Z Guide to Crime Speak Part 3

If you’re worried about being a “sucker”, or tired of being a “chump”, then it’s time to get with the lingo. Become familiar with the slang on the streets, the jargon of the criminal world, and the vernacular of investigation. With Part 3 of this A-Z Guide to Crime Speak you’ll be well prepared to embark on the treacherous trail of a criminal, solving mysteries before you can say “whodunit.”

Packing: carrying a firearm.

Paper Hanger: the unlawful use of cheques.

Pat Down: to search a person for firearms or other weapons.

Patricide: the act of killing one’s father.

Plastic: credit card.

Ponzi Scheme: named after American Charles Ponzi, a con artist uses money invested by his new victims to pay the interest of the interest on the investments of earlier victims.

Pop or Roll Up: to arrest a person.

Powder Tattooing: multiple abrasions of the skin caused by gunpowder.

Priors: previous arrests.

Prostitution: the act of having sex in exchange for money or some other means of payment.

QOA: acronym for “quiet on arrival.”

Quick Change / Short Change Artists: con artists who do a trick of sorts, confusing the person they are exchanging (usually small amounts of) money with and walking away with more than their change (often seen in retail or hospitality environments).

Rap: prior criminal record.

Reg Out: expired vehicle registration.

Ride: vehicle.

Rig: paraphernalia for using narcotics via injection.

Roll: to confess to a crime and then cooperate with law enforcement.

Saboteur: bomb technician, operating from hidden headquarters, who sends lethal weapons onto planes, usually by unaware passengers.

Score: to buy illegal drugs; a crime’s proceeds.

Shell Game: game dating back hundreds of years, involving 3 half walnut shells and a pea, in which the watching crowd is swindled.

Shill: a swindler or trickster’s accomplice who poses as a genuine customer, and used to encourage others to participate.

Skate: to evade being caught.

Skyjacking: hijacking of a plane.

Slug: bullet.

Smack: heroine.

Snitch: somebody who passes on information to the police.

Sororicide: the act of killing one’s sister.

Speedballs: mixture of cocaine and heroine.

Spieler: a gambler or swindler.

Spike: hypodermic needle used for injecting narcotics.

Stalking: in the criminal sense, involves the following and harassing of another person, repeatedly and intentionally.

Street Walker: a prostitute who seeks his or her clients on the street.

Sus: suspect.

Tag: to deface with graffiti (something that a “tagger” does); to assault.

Take: to arrest.

Three Card Monte: similar to the “Shell Game”, but this one uses playing cards to confuse take advantage of onlookers.

Tracks: marks (usually) on the forearm as a result of repetitive narcotic needle use.

Treason: the crime of siding with the enemy, usually in reference to siding with a country’s enemy.

Trespass: to enter somebody else’s property without permission.

Trick: a cunning act or scheme, usually resulting in somebody being duped; a prostitute’s client.

Unit: police vehicle.

VIN (Vehicle Identification Number): 17 numbers and letters specifying a vehicle’s make, model, type, and time and place of manufacturing, in one plain-sight and one “hidden” location (only the manufacturer, insurance companies, and law enforcement agencies know the location of the latter).

Visual: able to see.

Walk: to be released from custody without being charged.

Weed: Marijuana.

Went Down: happened.

Whack: injure, shoot, kill, do damage to.

White Collar Crime: financially motivated non-violent crime, for monetary gain.

X-Unit: portable radio carried by law enforcement officers.

Tanya Allport


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