The Bear and the Dragon (a novel by T. Clancy):

“They listened in on them for the occasional traffic accident, perhaps involving a big shot, and mainly to keep a finger on the pulse of Moscow, whose crime situation was bad and getting worse. It was useful for embassy personnel to know what parts of town to avoid, and be able to keep track of a crime to one of the thousands of American citizens.”

What does it mean “to keep track of crime to someone”? Does it mean “to protect someone from crime” of to find out whether someone is involved in crime? For me, the latter meaning sounds more likely. However, the last sentence of the excerpted passage was translated into my language roughly as: “It was useful for embassy personnel – from these intercepted communications they learned which neighborhoods to avoid; they also monitored a crime that could affect one of (преступность, которая могла затронуть одного из) the thousands of American citizens.”

  • It doesn't mean anything. It looks like you may have a defective copy.
    – Lambie
    Sep 6, 2019 at 15:53
  • 1
    Presumably the paragraph is about what the American Embassy did, because of the interest in American citizens. I would guess that "crime to one of the thousands of American citizens" means "crime committed against one of the thousands of American residents." Sep 6, 2019 at 15:55
  • I found it online. It is probably illegal. You either get the book from a library or buy it. Then, you can check. Bootlegged copies should not be quoted here. Clancy has the copyright to this.
    – Lambie
    Sep 6, 2019 at 15:57
  • I admit that I missed “a” before “crime” (a mistake that I’ve corrected). But I do have a hard copy (and a rather shabby one at that), published by Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England in 2001.
    – Zak
    Sep 6, 2019 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


That is not a bad translation back into English, but I think the meaning is more "to keep track of crime that had been done against ...". In other words they were monitoring communications to pick up on any of their citizens who had fallen victim to the local criminals.

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