Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 51, Issue 3–4, pp 399–412 | Cite as

Power-seeking crime? The professional thief versus the professional launderer

  • Antoinette Verhage
  • Paul Ponsaers


Relating the concept of power to motives and objectives for criminal activities results in different images of criminals and their motivations. In this article, we aim to reflect on two different forms of crime (burglary versus money laundering) starting from a power perspective. We describe how the pursuit of power may or may not be related to crime, perpetrators and the policies that have been developed to prevent or repress these types of crime. By examining the motives behind both burglary and money laundering, we try to make clear how the concept of power and power pursuit leads to different rationales in criminal conduct. We try to determine to what extent ‘rational choice’ plays a role in this respect. As a conclusion, we argue that ‘power’ as such influences patterns of crime, victimisation and societal reactions (by means of criminal policy). The extent to which power accumulation is an outcome of crime, will in part determine the social reaction to crime and as a result, the perceived threat of crime.


Criminal Activity Money Laundering Economic Power Power Motive Criminal Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Group Social Analysis of Security (SVA)Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium

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