Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Ilsley, Paul J.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Romanies--United States; Organized crime--United States; Criminal justice personnel--Training of--United States; Older people--Crimes against--United States


The purpose of this research was to study the subculture of American adult male Gypsies involved in organized professional criminality. Identifying these criminal groups creates some confusion in law enforcement communities; some agencies identify them as Eastern European traveling criminals. I include my personal experiences with problems associated in investigating these crimes. A qualitative research design was formulated for data collection in accordance with the standards of the methodology involving an ethnophenomenological study. Ten unstructured field interviews were conducted with veteran investigators identified as experts in the field of confidence crimes against the elderly, five retired and five currently active. The literature review includes criminal justice and criminal investigation, American Gypsy culture and history, and the field of adult education. The goal and final product is to improve and extend current literature in the field of adult continuing education and criminal justice. An important theme that emerged from this study is that the purposes and principles of adult education will benefit and support criminal justice education. This includes basic inservice training for officers and community education based on the idea that police officers should be taught adult education principles to prepare them to use a humanistic approach in instructing senior citizens about crime prevention. I believed there was a lack of education about the criminal element of this subculture. Most of the crimes it commits against the elderly are nonviolent and seldom make the news, and knowledge of the crime is realized only when the victim is a relative. Other themes that emerged from this study include the complexity of the criminal subculture organization, lack of basic recruit training for identifying and recording the crimes, need for inservice training for better crime scene investigation and current information on newly developed criminal methods, and need for community education of the elderly and their families. Finally, conclusions from the literature review and data collection resulted in recommendations that criminal justice educators draw on the humanistic approach, especially when training veteran police officers and detectives. Providing community education and the necessary tools to protect potential victims is paramount to the success of crime prevention.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [132]-138).


xxv, 186 pages




Northern Illinois University

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