By Dave Sweet with Sarah Graham
Book Review by Stella Constance
Dave Sweet with Sarah Graham write a compelling book, Skeletons in My Closet: Life Lessons from a Detective, that looks at the interactive relationships between the public and the police force in being able to prevent or solve crimes. Sweet brings his experience and observations having worked with a large western Canadian police service as an active-duty veteran homicide detective. At the same time, Graham brings her knowledge of facilitating for distinctly different social groups to the book.
Sweet delves into how community structures and individual choices affect human behavior in preventing, helping, or hindering criminal acts. He looks at the root of people’s choices, not just in their final act, but also the smaller events (factors) that lead up to the act itself. And as such, Sweet and Graham create morals or offer wisdom statements to guide readers on creating healthier life choices. In addition, Sweet also looks at some of the psychology/sociology behind people’s behavior, such as groupthink, in helping their readers understand better the apathy behind people not reporting crimes (versus they’re doing so, if they were alone), or its role in influencing people to perform the crime itself (where they would not have done so, if they were alone). Sweet’s storytelling of various true crimes often illustrates patterned community perceptions and behaviors.
Therefore, the book’s content becomes an excellent source for providing social indicators (trending signs) for urban planners, law enforcement, social work, educators, and active citizens, in their work to provide safer urban environments. Hence, Skeletons in My Closet is an excellent read for community development specialists and active community members, who wish to expand their current knowledge, to create safer and healthier experiences in their neighborhoods and communities at large.