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Friday, October 8, 2021

The Professional Criminal

     Professional crime is primarily a money crime. This is its essential character. For the professional criminal--whether white, black or brown, immigrant or native-born, child of middle-class or of poverty--the motive force is business.

     Professional crime is not radical violence, sex crime, or violence for violence sake. The vicious beating of some old lady for the change in her handbag is not the quintessence of professional crime. Neither is the pointless assassination of random victims by a sniper on top of a university tower. These sorts of crime are the handiwork of amateurs, psychopaths, adventurers--not professional criminals.

     A great deal of crime in America is disorganized crime. It arises out of frustration, spur-of-the moment impulse, recklessness and, above all, thoughtlessness.

     By comparison, professional crime is organized crime; the acts are those of calculation, tradition and, occasionally, seasoned opportunism.

     The professional-criminal tradition in America dates back to Prohibition and extends profitably into the present. Along the road to riches professional criminals acquired a vast arsenal of profit-making techniques. They have improved, expanded and refined these techniques. From their perspective they have constantly sought to advance the state of their art. [The most clever professional criminals go into politics.]

Thomas Plate, Crime Pays, 1975

1 comment:

  1. Jim, interesting comment that not a lot of people talk about. I was one of these criminals until I was arrested 20 years ago. I recently started writing about what I did and how. I'm curious if people will care...Although I never smoked pot, I began selling it at 19 years old. By the time I was arrested at 25 years old, I was the largest pot dealer in Boston and had made around $25M...