Police & Crime Idioms (Page 1)

Showing 1-28 of 28 results
A steal
If something is a steal, it costs much less than it is really worth.
Bandit territory
An area or an industry, profession, etc, where rules and laws are ignored or flouted is bandit territory.
Beat the rap
If you beat the rap, you escape conviction and punishment for a crime or something you have done wrong.
Behind bars
When someone is behind bars, they are in prison.
Cat burglar
A cat burglar is a skillful thief who breaks into places without disturbing people or setting off alarms.
Cop a plea
If you cop a plea, you plead guilty and take a lower sentence in exchange for leniency in criminal courts.
Do a runner
(UK) If people leave a restaurant without paying, they do a runner.
Drop the hammer
When someone drops the hammer, they are trying very hard to prove something, like the police dropping the hammer on a potential criminal.
Get away with murder
If you get away with murder, you do something bad and don't get caught or punished.('Get away with blue murder' is also used.)
Held hostage
If you are being held hostage, you have no choice to but to do what is asked in a situation.
Highway robbery
Something that is ridiculously expensive, especially when you have no choice but to pay, is a highway robbery.
Honor among thieves
If someone says there is honor among thieves, this means that even corrupt or bad people sometimes have a sense of honor or integrity, or justice, even if it is skewed.  ('Honour among thieves' is the British English version.)
In the can
If someone is in the can, they are in prison.
In the clink
(UK) If someone is in the clink, they are in prison.
In the dock
If someone is in the dock, they are on trial in court.
Make out like a bandit
(USA) If someone is extremely successful in a venture, they make out like a bandit.
New sheriff in town
This is used when a new authority figure takes charge.
On the case
If someone is on the case, they are dealing with a problem.
On the lam
If someone is on the lam, they are hiding from the police or authorities, especially to avoid arrest or prison.
On the run
If someone is on the run, they are avoiding arrest and hiding from the police.
On the take
This is used as a term to describe someone in a position of authority who is corrupt, someone who will take money in exchange for doing something for the person paying that may be illegal.
Poacher turned gamekeeper
Someone who gets a legitimate job which is the opposite of their previous one. E.G a computer hacker who then helps to catch other hackers or an ex-bank robber who then advises banks on security.
Serve time
When someone is serving time, they are in prison.
Set a thief to catch a thief
The best person to catch a criminal is another criminal  as they understand how criminals work.
Steal a march
This expression indicates the stealthiness of a person over another to gain advantage of the situation. For instance, if two persons are offered some jobs which are vacant, they resolve to go together next day at an agreed time, but one of them, without telling the other, goes earlier than the other and secures the better of the two jobs, he is said to steal a march on the other person.
Stool pigeon
(USA) A stool pigeon is a police informer.
Take no prisoners
If people take no prisoners, they do things in a very aggressive way, without considering any harm they might do to achieve their objectives.
Thick as thieves
If people are thick as thieves, they are very close friends who have no secrets from each other.

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