Crime Tours, Inc., an educational and entertainment attraction that provides a fascinating look into South Florida’s colorful and criminal past, has relocated to Downtown Hollywood.
In addition to offering tours, the company features an extensive showroom of historical memorabilia. Founder Chris Mancini estimates that memorabilia now exceed 1,000 pieces, including old photos and famous mug shots, original newspapers, devices such as vintage lie detectors and other artifacts.
A crime history buff and attorney who hails from Upstate New York, Mancini was "introduced to the dark side of South Florida" 40 years ago as a new hire in the U.S. Attorney’s Office dealing with increased crime.
Florida’s notorious history began centuries earlier in 1539 with the first mass slaughter of Native Americans in North America, by the Spanish, and encompasses pre-Civil War slavery, Prohibition, illegal gambling, drug smuggling and modern financial crimes such as Ponzi schemes.
"You can’t separate history from crime or crime from history," Mancini said. "South Florida has always profited from crime."
Some of these South Florida crimes have been re-enacted as a series of shorts airing on WLRN Public Television at the end of "Death in Paradise." The "Case of The Clinking Brassieres" short was recently nominated for an Emmy. It tells the tale of counting room employees at Southern Bell Telephone Company in Miami in the 1950s who stole $100,000 in quarters stashed in their bras.
Crime Tours partners with Crime History, Inc., a nonprofit charitable organization that welcomes donations of items of historical significance will soon be joining the Hollywood Historical Society on panel discussions and walking tours. Ongoing events starting in January are Troubled Tuesdays, featuring exhibit discussions and guest speakers, and Felony Flick Fridays. Tickets are $20 per event and include refreshments.
Mancini signed a long-term lease on the Downtown Hollywood site because of the business-friendly attitude, downtown improvements and the city’s "commitment to cultural growth."
"Hollywood welcomed us with open arms," Mancini said. "I think Hollywood’s the next big thing on the map. We’re here to stay."
Business hours are 11 am to 6 pm Monday - Thursday, 11 am to 7 pm Friday, and 10 am to 5 pm Saturday. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for ages 3-17 and $15 for a 30-minute guided tour. A guided bus tour is $25, or $35 for a combination bus tour and guided tour.
For more information, call 954.300.1063, or visit CrimeToursMuseum.com.