Criminological portrait of a professional criminal

Keywords: personality of a criminal, professional criminal, professional crime, criminal professionalism, mercenary motive, motives, needs, recidivism, criminological characteristics.


The article reveals the peculiarities of criminological characteristics of professional criminals. It is indicated that professional criminals have deliberately chosen criminal activity as a tool to meet their material needs. The main motive of a professional criminal is profit, which is based on improving the material standard of living and obtaining a constant income from criminal activity. It is established that professional criminals are a group of the most dangerous and active criminals who deliberately oppose themselves to society and have a significant deformation of the value and normative sphere.

The personality of a professional criminal is characterised by systematic anti-social behaviour and the commission of homogeneous crimes in the form of a trade. They are characterised by a constant readiness to commit crimes, a deep deformation of the sphere of interests and needs, negativism, and an extreme degree of individualism.

The personality of a professional criminal has the following characteristics: a stable type of criminal "profession" (specialisation); certain knowledge and skills (qualifications); a permanent income - crime as a source of livelihood; connection with the antisocial environment; the habitual nature of this activity (unconscious passion); a high level of invulnerability of criminals to criminal prosecution.

Most professional criminals have inflated self-esteem, developed ambition, hostility towards others, and a desire to maintain authority in their environment at any cost. Professional criminals are characterised by a deformed moral and legal consciousness. Most of them are characterised by distorted value orientations, selfishness, intellectual and volitional passivity, significant dependence on external situations, inability and unwillingness to subordinate their behaviour to socially useful goals, lack of personal long-term plans, weakness, and unbalancedness. They are also characterised by greed, self-interest, cruelty, anger, envy, lack of self-criticism, constant self-justification, and fatalism.

The study of the personality of a professional criminal is a prerequisite for further activities on individual prevention of various types of crimes with signs of criminal professionalism and is associated with the development of an urgent problem of predicting individual criminal behaviour.


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Author Biography

N. K. Makarenko, National Academy of Internal Affairs

Doctor of Law, Associate Professor.
Department of Criminology and Criminal Enforcement Law (professor).


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How to Cite
Makarenko, N. K. (2023) “Criminological portrait of a professional criminal”, Bulletin of Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs, 102(3 (Part 1), pp. 121-129. doi: 10.32631/v.2023.3.11.
Administrative Law and Procedure; Financial Law