Photo: via Reddit

Unspeakable Crimes The Best Quotes About Crime And Criminals  

890 votes 346 voters 44.3k views

List Rules Must be a famous or well-known quote. Vote for the crime and criminals sayings that strongly resonate with you, and downvote any you didn't like.

A list of the best crime and criminals quotes and sayings, including the names of each speaker or author when available. This list is sorted by popularity, so only the most famous crime and criminals quotes are at the top. The authors of these historic crime and criminals quotes are displayed next to each quote, so if you see one you like be sure to check out other inspirational crime and criminals quotes from that same writer.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best quotes about crime and criminals?" and "What are inspirational crime and criminals quotes?"

This list includes notable crime and criminals quotes by various authors, writers, playwrights, speakers, politicians, athletes, poets, and more. Vote on your favorites so that the greatest crime and criminals quotes rise to the top, as the order of the list changes dynamically based on votes. Don't let your favorite crime and criminals sayings get to the bottom of the list.

49 24
Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is also true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on. John F. Kennedy

41 18
Locks keep out only the honest.

51 27
Set a thief to catch a thief.

24 8
Every rascal is not a thief, but every thief is a rascal. Aristotle

19 4
No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes. On the contrary, whatever the punishment, once a specific crime has appeared for the first time, its reappearance is more likely than its initial emergence could ever have been. Hannah Arendt

37 20
He reminds me of the man who murdered both his parents, and then when the sentence was about to be pronounced, pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was orphan. Abraham Lincoln

18 5
Crime seems to change character when it crosses a bridge or a tunnel. In the city, crime is taken as emblematic of class and race. In the suburbs, though, it's intimate and psychological -- resistant to generalization, a mystery of the individual soul. Barbara Ehrenreich

14 2
Many commit the same crime with a different destiny; one bears a cross as the price of his villainy, another wears a crown. Juvenal

18 6
He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it. Plato

18 7
Not failure, but low aim, is crime. James Russell Lowell

19 8
In times of trouble leniency becomes crime.

17 9
Crime when it succeeds is called virtue. Seneca the Younger

7 1
There is a heroism in crime as well as in virtue. Vice and infamy have their altars and their religion. William Hazlitt

9 3
The common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor. H. L. Mencken

10 4
There is no society known where a more or less developed criminality is not found under different forms. No people exists whose morality is not daily infringed upon. We must therefore call crime necessary and declare that it cannot be non-existent, that the fundamental conditions of social organization, as they are understood, logically imply it. Émile Durkheim

12 6
Many a man is saved from being a thief by finding everything locked up. Edgar Watson Howe

12 6
If poverty is the mother of crime, lack of good sense is the father. Jean de La Bruyère

14 8
One crime has to be concealed by another. Seneca the Younger

5 0
It is certain that stealing nourishes courage, strength, skill, tact, in a word, all the virtues useful to a republican system and consequently to our own. Lay partiality aside, and answer me: is theft, whose effect is to distribute wealth more evenly, to be branded as a wrong in our day, under our government which aims at equality? Plainly, the answer is no. Marquis de Sade

5 0
The man who is admired for the ingenuity of his larceny is almost always rediscovering some earlier form of fraud. The basic forms are all known, have all been practiced. The manners of capitalism improve. The morals may not. John Kenneth Galbraith

5 0
The lyricism of marginality may find inspiration in the image of the outlaw, the great social nomad, who prowls on the confines of a docile, frightened order. Michel Foucault

7 2
For centuries the death penalty, often accompanied by barbarous refinements, has been trying to hold crime in check; yet crime persists. Why? Because the instincts that are warring in man are not, as the law claims, constant forces in a state of equilibrium. Albert Camus

7 2
The fear of burglars is not only the fear of being robbed, but also the fear of a sudden and unexpected clutch out of the darkness. Elias Canetti

6 1
Successful crimes alone are justified. John Dryden

9 5
All criminals turn preachers under the gallows.

8 4
Organized crime in America takes in over forty billion dollars a year. This is quite a profitable sum, especially when one consider that the Mafia spends very little for office supplies. Woody Allen

7 3
Great thieves punish little ones.

6 2
Squeeze human nature into the straitjacket of criminal justice and crime will appear. Karl Kraus

6 2
Today more Americans are imprisoned for drug offenses than for property crimes George Will

5 1
The world of crime is a last refuge of the authentic, uncorrupted, spontaneous event. Daniel J. Boorstin

5 1
There are crimes which become innocent and even glorious through their splendor, number and excess. François de La Rochefoucauld

4 0
He has committed the crime who profits by it. Seneca the Younger

28 25
Save a thief from the gallows and he will cut your throat.

10 7
Crime is naught but misdirected energy. Emma Goldman

9 6
There is no crime of which I do not deem myself capable. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

8 5
Almost all crime is due to the repressed desire for aesthetic expression. Evelyn Waugh

6 3
The infectiousness of crime is like that of the plague. Napoleon Bonaparte

5 2
Crime is a fact of the human species, a fact of that species alone, but it is above all the secret aspect, impenetrable and hidden. Crime hides, and by far the most terrifying things are those which elude us. Georges Bataille

5 2
Want of money and the distress of a thief can never be alleged as the cause of his thieving, for many honest people endure greater hardships with fortitude. We must therefore seek the cause elsewhere than in want of money, for that is the miser's passion, not the thief s. William Blake

4 1
He that is robbed, not wanting what is stolen, him not know t, and he's not robbed at all. William Shakespeare

4 1
Crimes, like virtues, are their own rewards. George Farquhar

4 1
Repudiating the virtues of your world, criminals hopelessly agree to organize a forbidden universe. They agree to live in it. The air there is nauseating: they can breathe it. Jean Genet

7 5
From a single crime know the nation. Virgil

6 4
A crime persevered in a thousand centuries ceases to be a crime, and becomes a virtue. This is the law of custom, and custom supersedes all other forms of law. Mark Twain

5 3
The thief. Once committed beyond a certain point he should not worry himself too much about not being a thief any more. Thieving is God's message to him. Let him try and be a good thief.

3 1
Slums may well be breeding-grounds of crime, but middle-class suburbs are incubators of apathy and delirium. Cyril Connolly

3 1
Crime and bad lives are the measure of a State's failure, all crime in the end is the crime of the community. H. G. Wells

3 1
Abscond. To move in a mysterious way, commonly with the property of another. Ambrose Bierce

2 0
We cannot be sure that we ought not to regard the most criminal country as that which in some aspects possesses the highest civilization. Havelock Ellis

2 0
The study of crime begins with the knowledge of oneself. All that you despise, all that you loathe, all that you reject, all that you condemn and seek to convert by punishment springs from you. Henry Miller