skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 135538 Find in a Library
Title: In the Underworld: An Interview With a Dutch Safe-Breaker
Journal: Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:30  Issue:2  Dated:(May 1991)  Pages:121-139
Author(s): M Punch
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 19
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: This interview with a professional Dutch criminal provides information on certain aspects of the traditional Dutch underworld as well as the criminal personality.
Abstract: "Aage M.," as the interviewee was known in the media, was a well-known safe-cracker whose personal story shows him to be a relic of a parochial, cohesive, and largely nonviolent domestic underworld that has largely disappeared. To an extent Aage M. approached his safe-cracking career as law-abiding people generally approach their jobs. He used rational principles to maximize his income and reduce risk; however, he rejected the routine, monotony, and boredom of the typical work-a-day world of the general population. He thrives on challenge, excitement, and stimulation. He holds a positive self-image of himself as a skilled mechanic, "ethically" responsible in his conduct (notably in loyalty to cohorts), generous to his friends, solicitous of the welfare of his "girls," and nonviolent. He holds a counter-ideology that views everyone as exploitative of others. Society's institutions, particularly the criminal justice system, are viewed as hypocritical and unjust. He perceives these institutions as protective of the privileged, exploitative of the masses, and brutal with those who challenge the "system." Whereas, most people are programmed to comply with the system, he views himself as a challenger of the system and as an outsider whom the system seeks to crush. This article further discusses the value of criminological study based on observations of and interviews with criminals. 23 notes and 54 references
Main Term(s): Criminal career patterns
Index Term(s): Attitudes toward authority; Crime in foreign countries; Organized crime
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.