James R. Fitzgerald takes a vacation in franconia. But he always carries his job with him: as a former investigator with the federal bureau of investigation, better known by its abbreviation, the FBI, he can't help but observe and keep an eye out for potential dangers and security leaks. How is security in bamberg, mr. Fitzgerald??
"Criminals betray themselves through their gaze", says the american. "Like animals they search for their victim, a weak person." Although he always keeps his eyes open for crimes, he has not yet come across anyone like that in bamberg, he assures us. On the contrary: "i am thrilled by the friendliness and openness of the people here."
Fitzgerald does not wear a suit or black sunglasses and does not flutter secret messages into a hidden headset. As a tourist, the bamberg prefers to explore in a comfortable summer outfit. He came to bamberg accompanied by the scientist natalie schilling-estes, who, like him, has studied the topic of "forensic lingustic" busy. About this "crime lingo she gave a lecture as guest lecturer at the university of bamberg.
Fitzgerald's FBI experience with forensic lingustics benefits not only in real life. As a consultant for the "criminal minds" series he helps hollywood keep the stories as authentic as possible.
For 20 years, the 59-year-old worked for the federal bureau of investigation, the investigative arm of the u.S. Justice system. Over time, he specialized in identifying criminals through their written and spoken language.
"In bamberg, unfortunately, my english language skills are of no use at all. My german is just enough to order a beer", admits fitzgerald.
In a cellar he was convinced that the people of bamberg are absolutely peaceful. "When we couldn't find a seat, a nice man offered us a corner at his table. We could only communicate with hands and feet, but I was very happy about the hospitality."
The right mab to police
According to fitzgerald's observations, franken is a very safe region. He noticed that the police are present in public places, train stations and airports: "in the old town, I saw a lot of police officers on a bike or on a fub. That makes me feel safe. But there are not so many of them that I feel like I am being watched."
Since the attacks of 11 a.M., it is not only the american authorities who have been putting. September 2001 a special focus on the fight against terrorism. In germany, too, every incoming student is rigorously screened, as the former investigator found out in his own flesh. At frankfurt airport a few years ago, he was the only person to be waved out at checkout and searched. Later, the officials said that his FBI badge had not changed anything. "I liked that. At least they did their job, regardless of my status", says fitzgerald.
During his time with the FBI, he always had a gun and bulletproof vest within reach and was present at two gunfights himself. He has searched for criminals and terrorists, worked undercover and uncovered violent and sexual crimes. The arrest of the "unabomber" was one of the most spectacular traps he was involved in. Between 1978 and 1995, ted kaczynski used letter bombs to kill three people and injure 23 others. By recognizing his writing style in a manifesto, the FBI was able to catch the bomber. Sentence structures, e-mails and blog entries still help fitzgerald track down people, but now for a private investigation firm.
With the topic "forensic lingustic" natalie schilling-estes, who gave a lecture in bamberg and explained at the university how criminals can be identified by their writing habits, also deals with this topic. Sentence positions, dialects and the use of punctuation or even blanks can be used to create personal profiles. In this way, age, gender, social status or even region of origin can often be determined and the circle of suspects narrowed down.
With the back to the wall
Even if james R. Fitzgerald is no longer on the lookout for public enemy number 1, certain reflexes have not left him, he says with a grin. "Nothing against the bamberger – but also in the schlenkerla I sit down in such a way that I only have the wall in my back." Just to be on the safe side, of course.