Slide your gun into your holster, strap on your bulletproof vest and, for God’s sake, don’t forget to call a judge for a search warrant: October is Crime Prevention Month . During the crisp autumn afternoons between Model T. Day and National Magic Day, it’s time to get to work preventing criminal behavior. The key is making sure you don’t break any laws in your pursuit of lawlessness. Apparently, not the easiest thing to do. One way to celebrate Crime Prevention Month is to dedicate yourself to catching up on some great gritty low-budget movies about some of the less celebrated agencies charged with preventing crime.
T-Man never quite caught on with the public imagination in the way that G-Man did. Nevertheless, the guys at the Treasury Department are just as vital a part of the law enforcement fabric of America that is celebrated as part of Crime Prevention Month as the FBI. “T-Men” shows a side of the agents working for the Dept. of Treasury that you never usually see in movies. If you do see T-Men, it is in their capacity as Secret Service agents protecting the President. This 1947 noirish-semi-documentary film is about two agents working for Treasury who go undercover to break up a counterfeiting ring. “T-Men” is an excellent choice for Crime Prevention Month because it is a gritty little crime flick and because it shows a side of the Treasury Dept. law enforcement division you almost never get to see on film.
Insurance investigators do occasionally show up as members of the thick blue line of crime prevention in America. “Double Indemnity” is the classic example, but you’ve already seen that one, right? Right? Crime Prevention Month should include a viewing of that Billy Wilder classic about insurance fraud if you haven’t seen it yet and even if you have. Then move on to “The Choppers.” This 1960s exploitation film is no “Double Indemnity” but then nothing is. What “The Choppers” does qualify as is a good movie to add to your October marathon during Crime Prevention Month. The title refers to juvies who break down stolen vehicles for parts to sell. Yes, the cops are involved, but an insurance investigator is also key to the plot.
This movie widely available on public domain streaming sites is all about the specific nature of parole with the system that makes Crime Prevention Month possible. “Parole, Inc.” starts out within the judicial side of our crime prevention system by revealing what one can only take to have been a pretty significant problem in the late 40s when the film was made. That problem is systemic corruption within the parole board. The movie is structured as a series of flashbacks as FBI chosen to go undercover as a convict to expose the corruption lies in a hospital bed dictating his story.