Almost everyone experiences a criminal career (Moffitt, 43). The onset begins during adolescence and involves a series of petty crimes. The amount of crimes committed during the criminal career at any given time is the rate at which the offender offends. What differentiates the “career criminal” from the person who had a “criminal career” is this; Whereas the latter by-and-large discontinues their crimes by the time they are in their mid-20s, those who are career criminals will persist with their offending at a high rate during their life course (Moffitt, 41). One theory put forth argues that the reason that people continue to commit crimes is that they have “neuropsychological defects” (Moffitt, 37). However, the life course and activities of Charles “Lucky” Luciano would suggest otherwise.
Charles Luciano was born “Salvatore Lucania” on November 24, 1897 in Lercara Friddi, Sicily. The Lucania family was impoverished and his father, Antonio, worked in a sulfur mine to support the family. With the quality of life being dire in Sicily the Lucania family decided to relocate to America. The Lucania family arrived in America in November 1906 and moved into an apartment in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The arrival seemingly acted as a catalyst for Salvatore’s criminal career. The onset of his criminal career began in 1907 when he was arrested for shoplifting. Entering the criminal justice system at seven years of age he precedes 97% of youth in their criminal career onsets (Hirschi and Gottfredson, 576).
Salvatore would continue to commit petty crimes at a steady rate throughout his childhood. As Salvatore aged and entered adolescence signs of escalation began to appear. “The pattern young Salvatore followed as he grew up was no different from that of maybe seven of every ten boys…shoplifting from neighborhood stores…and then as boys grow more experienced, (stealing) loot that can be ‘fenced’” (Feder and Joesten, 42). ...
Feder, Sid and Joesten, Joachim. (1954). The Luciano Story. New York: De Capo Press.
Hirschi, Travis and Gottfredson, Michael. (1983) “Age and the Explanation of Crime.” American Journal of Sociology. 89: 552-584.
Macmillan, Ross. (2001) “Explaining Adolescent Limited Offender” Lecture 3.
Merton, Robert. (1968). Social Theory and Social Structure. New York: Free Press.
Moffitt, Terrie. (1993) “Adolescence and Life-Course Persistent Antisocial Behavior.” Psychological Review. 100(4): 674-701.
Petersilia, Joan. (1978) “Part V: Criminal Sophistication.” Criminal Careers of Habitual Felons. US Department of Justice, pp. 59-71.
Sampson, Robert and Laub, John. (1995) “Understanding Variability in Lives through Time: Contributions of Life Course Criminology.” Studies in Crime and Prevention. 4(2): 242-258.