FBI Most Wanted List

By: Robert Thomson


Back on March 14th, 1950, the FBI most wanted list was created. The initial aim of the list is for public awareness -- to keep the ordinary citizens up to date on the profiles of the most dangerous fugitives.

To entice the public to participate in hunting or capturing these fugitives, rewards were often offered to those who would successfully participate in the arrest and capture of the wanted criminal. The FBI most wanted list was also brought into existence keeping in mind that the direct involvement of the US media will be vital for the success of the program.

As of today, with public participation, the FBI most wanted list has helped to apprehend one hundred and fifty two fugitives included in the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. All in all, a total of 491 fugitives have been included in the list. Of this figure, 462 have been located and apprehended.

The FBI most wanted list has been home to some of the most notorious criminals in the US, but it also includes lesser known fugitives who are nonetheless as dangerous as the rest. Among those who made the list are eight women, the first being Ruth Eisemann-Schier. Eisemann-Schier was involved in extortion, kidnapping and criminal activities.

As for those who choose and decide the fugitives that should be included in the FBI most wanted list, this work is done by the Criminal Investigation Division located at FBI Headquarters. Each of the 56 FBI Field Offices are required to send their candidates for the list.

After all field offices have submitted their candidates, special agents in the CID along with members of the Office of Public Affairs are given the task to review all the candidates. The list of candidates chosen by the special agents involved will then be sent to CID’s Assistant Director.

The Assistant Director will further review this submission and make his/her own approvals. Finally, this selection will then be forwarder to the Deputy Director of the FBI for the final approval.

The criteria for the selection of candidates include the following. The fugitive’s criminal record should be a long one and must include serious offenses. The fugitive must also be considered as a dangerous threat to society based on his/her standing criminal offenses. Next, serious consideration must be taken into account that the FBI most wanted list program is capable of assisting in the capture of the criminal by way of national publicity.

For more than half a century since its conception, the FBI most wanted list has been a great boon to the capture and apprehension of fugitives considered as menaces to society. With continued public support and participation, it will continue to act as an important program for law enforcers and agencies.

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