Criminal Justice

Houston Sketch Artist Holds World's Record for Crime-Solving Composites

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Lois Gibson has worked 30 years for the Houston police department as a sketch artist. During that time, her work earned her a Guinness World Record for the most criminals identified due to the work of one artist.

Gibson earned the world record in 2007, when Guinness found her work had led to the identification of 523 people, helping solve more than 1,000 crimes, the Huffington Post reports. She excels not only because of artistic ability. Her patience and support help witnesses open up about their experience, enabling her to complete the drawing.

“One hundred percent of all the witnesses say they can’t remember well enough to do a sketch,” Gibson told the publication. “It’s getting them to remember the last thing they want to remember. … I’m sitting there with somebody who’s been through the worst thing of their life.”

At one time, Gibson said, she completed 300 composites a year, but the recent number is closer to 100. She also travels around Texas and sometimes to other states to help on high-profile cases. She also teaches at Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety.

There are only a few dozen full-time professional forensic artists, the story says. The FBI cut its forensic art class because of a “reallocation of resources,” a spokeswoman told the publication in a statement.

Hat tip to Pat’s Papers, which calls Gibson’s drawings “stunningly accurate.”

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