Crime as a Family Occupation

Criminal families come in all shapes and sizes. From organised crime syndicates to uneducated, poor families where children learn their trade almost at their mother’s knee. Often circumstance and poverty can set the ball rolling but wealthy families can be just as bad.

Organised crime.

Organizations such as the Mafia often held whole sections that were made up of different generations and relatives of the family unit. Many Scicilian families were heavily involved. Uncles, sons, brothers, fathers and son-in-laws have been known to work the same criminal trade. Tricks of the criminal trade were passed on to successive generations.

Gangland crime has become a more recent phenomenon with close friends and family members all belonging to the same gang. The criminal acts often involve weapons and drugs and are serious in nature.

Ordinary families.

Going to school in a working class, Northern Enland, town, in the 1950’s I certainly saw a mixed bag of fellow pupils. There were more than a couple of children who were from parents that were criminals. These varied from petty thieves to armed robbers. These children have all gone down the same path which I suppose was inevitable. Some children break away from their childhood lifestyle but it is not easy.

The children I knew were lifted over the wall’s of businesses at night with the sole purpose of helping their father steal. They were introdiced to prostitution from a relatively young age and they also knew far more than a child should about police officers, law courts and jail. At any one time probably their father, or a brother, would either be serving a sentence for a crime such as assault, or have been arrested for theft. Lack of a decent upbringing plus insufficient education meant that they saw no way out and carried on the family tradition. Children, of prostitues, that ended up living in care did exactly the same to their children in no time at all and a cycle of neglect continued.

Infamous crime families.

Centuries ago the Borgia family went on a crime spree in Italy. From the Borgia Pope to his son and daughter they were a bunch of dishonest criminals.

The Kray twins inspired and supported each other during their fearsome reign of terror in London. They gathered a close knit group of associates that became a family of sorts. The Krays were directly and indirectly responsible for Violent acts and more, until prison finally put paid to their antics.

Recently an English family, the Johnsons were found guilty of a huge burgulary. Almost all of the family had been involved in one way or another.

Current trends.

Some young families seem to have no qualms about taking their children with them on a shoplifting spree. After all children in pushchairs offer a great place to hide the stolen goods. Parents who brag about making fraudulent insurance claims infront of their children will only help instill a feeling that crime does pay, and how. Parents who dabble with illicit drugs and drink to access in front of the kids are all setting bad examples to their children.


The signals that any of these acts send out to children is that it is OK to break the rules. If a child sees a parent, whose only occupation is a criminal act, such as stealing, seem to prosper what incentive will the child have to go straight?. It will be much easier to stick with what he knows and join the criminal fraternity.