Street Criminals are NPCs that are programmed to commit crimes.
They have been featured in the series since Grand Theft Auto 2. They create a more "complete" environment in the city by simulating typical street crimes.
The street criminals in GTA 2 come in two varieties; car thieves and pickpockets.
The car thieves wear a green shirt and will usually steal any civilian or gang car that they can access, including the player's vehicle. Although the police make no attempts to stop car thieves, if a gang car is stolen, nearby gang members will open fire or chase the stolen vehicle. They will usually abandon the vehicle after a few minutes and run off to steal another.
The pickpockets, on the other hand, are distinguished by their red short-sleeve shirt and white undershirt. They will steal money from anyone on the street, including gang members and the player - usually uttering the phrase "Gimme your wallet!". Unlike the car thieves, if an on-foot police officer sees them committing crime, they will chase after them. Gang members also don't take kindly to being pick-pocketed and will usually open fire on the thief.
The criminals in GTA III come in two varieties. One of the criminals looks strikingly similar to members of the Southside Hoods, except he has a different face texture and wears a brown jacket, as opposed to the Hoods' red or purple jackets. The other criminal wears a hat, a black shirt with white sleeves, and blue "camo" shorts and is a white male.
Much like in GTA 2, they will steal any civilian or gang vehicle that they can access, including the player's vehicle. They can also be seen pickpocketing pedestrians (including each other, although the criminals who have been robbed will strike up their fists and stand) - who usually run away or chase and fight them. If you point your gun at them, they will give you the money that they robbed from the pedestrian.
Unlike in GTA 2, and in later games, however, the Police don't give chase to them, and instead, pedestrians themselves give chase.
GTA Vice City
Like in previous games, the criminals in GTA Vice City come in three varieties; one is a black man with a black leather jacket, blue jeans, black gloves, and white sneakers. The other is a white man with a brown leather jacket, blue jeans, and black shoes. The last one, although the rarest of the three, is a Hispanic man, resembling a Pimp, with a red leather jacket, black pants with red leather stripes, and a sombrero.
The first two bear a resemblance to the Sharks, although with cleaner attire. They can often be seen in groups in the North Point Mall at night, except for the Hispanic man, in and outside the mall. They really don't rob people of their money, rather, they will steal any civilian vehicle that they can access, including ambulances, helicopters, and the player's vehicle. They will not attempt to steal motorcycles, scooters, gang cars, law enforcement vehicles (apart from Rhinos), or fire trucks.
They might even commandeer a Maverick or other helicopter if the player lands one near them and waits long enough for one of them to notice the aircraft. However, unlike later games, they won't fly away. Instead, they will drift forwards along the road with the rotor blades spinning. This is the result of the game's engine being unable to implement proper AI for normal NPCs flying helicopters outside of missions. This can become a serious safety hazard, since the blades can severely damage anyone that comes near it, including the player.
However, if a police officer sees them car-jacking, or just walking in general, they will attempt to stop them - the player is rewarded a "Good Citizen Bonus" of $50, if they choose to help the officer. (There is a glitch where the player can repeatedly stomp on the criminal and receive the $50 bonus until the body disappears, even if the criminal is dead.) This only applies if the player uses his fists or a melee weapon; if the player discharges firearms under any circumstances near a cop, they will receive a star on their Wanted Level.
Members of the Patrol Invest Group also don't take kindly to them and will sometimes try to shoot the street criminals, but only if the street criminals attack them.
The cops pursuing them can be up to three officers against one street criminals (More if there are S.W.A.T, FBI or even the Army) and they will not give up pursuing them unless the protagonist Tommy Vercetti commits a hostile action near a officer pursuing them, and the cops will immediately turn against Vercetti instead. In fact, all law enforcement in Vice City will pursue them, similar to gang members.
GTA San Andreas
The criminals in GTA San Andreas will try to steal any vehicle, including the player's, however they will not steal any law enforcement vehicles. They may have hidden weapons, such as a knife or a pistol. Like in Vice City, if a police officer sees, they will attempt to stop them. Unfortunately, the player no longer receives a "Good Citizen Bonus" for helping the officer, in fact, the player is more likely to attain a wanted level by doing so, possibly because it's considered interfering with police affairs. Nevertheless, the police can still be helped by blocking the criminal's car with one's own or bike or even kill the criminals when out of the cops' sight. Just like normal pedestrians, criminals will often either compliment or insult CJ, depending on his appearance. GTA San Andreas has the most criminals out of all the 3D Universe games, with a grand total of 9 criminals. Each city has three: a black criminal, a Hispanic criminal, and a white criminal.
There are three criminals that can be found mainly in Los Santos, but may also appear in other cities. The first one is a black male dressed in a dark blue checkered shirt, a gold chain, forest-green chonglers, and white sneakers, and apparently has been to prison before. The second one is a Hispanic male wearing sunglasses, a plaid tan shirt worn in a "cholo" style, khaki pants, and black sneakers. The third one is a San Andreas Biker, a white male with sunglasses, a gold chain, fingerless gloves, a leather motorcycle jacket with a gray T-shirt underneath, tan pants, and motorcycle boots. Los Santos criminals are also unique due to the fact that they can spawn during the day, whilst the criminals of San Fierro and Las Venturas tend to appear at night. This could be a representation of the city's high crime rate.
There are also three criminals unique to San Fierro. The first is a black male wearing a white hat, sunglasses, a blue shirt worn in a "cholo" style, khaki pants, and white sneakers. The second is a Hispanic male sporting a lilac shirt, a gold necklace, a gold bracelet, black pants, and coffee-coloured shoes, and seems to be of high class. The third one is a white male dressed in a green shirt with black sleeves, jeans, and black-and-grey shoes.
Finally, there are another three criminals that can be found only in Las Venturas. The first is a black male in an olive plaid shirt, grey pants, and grey shoes. The second is a Hispanic male dressed in a blue-and white striped polo shirt with black sleeves, jeans, and grey-and-black sneakers, and appears to resemble T-Bone Mendez. The third and final one is a white male who appears to be a punk rocker, sporting a red mohawk, a customized motorcycle jacket, a grey punk rock T-shirt, tattoo sleeves, ripped jeans, and maroon combat boots. The punk is the rarest of them all, and is very difficult to spot.
Crack Dealers can also be seen throughout San Andreas. They are identifiable by their clothes and their actions. They wear either jeans and a black tank top or a light-grey hooded jacket. They stand in the same place for a long period of time and deal to other pedestrians. They carry a pistol and a large amount of cash.
Although not necessarily "criminals", road ragers are also a fairly common sight in San Andreas, particularly in rural areas. If someone crashes into them, they will exit their vehicle and attempt to fight/kill the other driver. Sometimes, they will be armed with a melee weapon, such as a shovel, golf club or a baseball bat. If they are successful in killing the other driver, they will usually just get back in their car and drive away. Occasionally, a police chase may randomly appear between armed felons in a car and police officers. The armed felons will do a drive-by at the cops during a chase.
A police chase may also start if a motorist hits a police vehicle whether it be accidental, bad driving, on purpose, poor patience or caused by someone else pushing the car. The police will give chase to whoever hit their car and will attempt to stop them. Once they are stopped, the police will attempt to drag the pedestrian out of his/her car and will open fire on him/her regardless of if they are armed or not. Police will also shoot members of certain gangs on sight unless they are in a vehicle.
Sometimes, a police officer can be seen running after a random NPC (who can be heard screaming and saying things like "I didn't do it!" or "It wasn't me!"), however, unlike Vice City, when the officer catches up to him/her he will then simply walk away. Strangely, the NPC will still run away screaming.
Rarely, police officers will randomly come out of their cruiser and open fire at a street criminal, even if he didn't do anything wrong.
Random NPCs may attack an officer for some unknown reason and the officer will take out a pistol and shoot at his attacker. However, the NPC has a chance of gaining a pistol after punching the officer, especially when they knock him into the ground.
GTA Liberty City Stories
The criminals in GTA Liberty City Stories come in at least two different varieties; one has light skin and wears a grey hooded shirt, a blue jacket and green pants, while the other has dark skin and wears a blue and brown jacket, dark pants and a dark hat.
A large number of them appear in Bedford Point, although they also appear in other parts of the city. Like in the previous two games, the criminals are often chased by police officers, and the $50 "Good Citizen Bonus" for helping the officer to stop the criminal returns having been absent in GTA San Andreas.
GTA Vice City Stories
In GTA Vice City Stories, there are two varieties of street criminals. One has a vest and T-shirt with trousers. Another one, which is much rarer, sports a hat, a vest and 50's pants. Helping the cops fight the street criminals grants a $50 Good Citizen bonus.
They can also be encountered during Taxi missions, requesting to stop at a business for them to rob. No Good Citizen bonus can be received; instead, the player gets a 2 star wanted level.
In GTA IV, the cops are much more vigilant and will try to arrest anyone who commits a crime, including anyone who tries to attack the player. After they have been arrested, the suspect is taken to the nearest law enforcement vehicle, including ones that the player has saved by parking on one of their parking spaces.
However, they tend to simply drive around, instead of taking the criminal to the nearest police station. Some criminals may also try to run away while the officer is escorting them to a police car. If the criminal is armed but not aggressive then the police officer will confiscate the weapon and say things like "A concealed weapon, huh? That's another crime to add to your sheet." or "Carrying a weapon in this town is a felony." If the suspect isn't armed, they will be arrested for fraud as the officer will comment "Whoa, where'd you get all these stolen credit cards from?" It is possible to get a cop to arrest a prisoner with the use of cheats.
If the criminal is armed and aggressive, they will attack the cops and the cops will arm themselves and try to kill the criminal. The cops can also call for some reinforcement, or if there is a shooting between the cops and the street criminals nearby a Cop Car with an officer inside, then the cops inside the car will also go out and shoot at the street criminals.
If there is a police helicopter nearby, the helicopter will also stop where the shooting is taking place, although they don't usually shoot and they often tend to crash, certainly meaning that the criminals took the helicopter out of the air.
Like in GTA San Andreas, if the player tries to help an officer, they are more likely to attain a wanted level, but they can still trip the criminal up and the police will thank the player if done. It is possible that the "Good Citizen Bonus" was meant to make a full return, but was cut.
For some reason, if they see a street vendor attacking the player, they will not arrest them, but instead open fire, despite the fact they don't have any weapons. This also includes security guards, bouncers, the clerk at a TW@, and the security guard at Perseus.
Street criminals also appear in GTA V. Street criminals in V range from random hoods, to gang members and they are always armed with a weapon. When traveling around, a random police pursuit will sometimes occur in the player's vicinity. Police will usually tail the suspects before engaging in a chase with them. Once a chase has been initiated, the criminals will attempt to ditch the cops. Sometimes the player may stumble upon a chase already in progress. If the police smash into the player's vehicle, the player receives a wanted star even though the collision was the fault of the officer, but only if the player was moving at the moment of collision.
Also, the player can sometimes come across the aftermath of a police chase, with the criminals engaging in a gunfight with officers. If the criminals crash their vehicle or are boxed in by police, they will exit the vehicle and begin shooting at the police. Since the police use the Cover System to attack, they usually kill all street criminals at the scene, instead of the other way around (street criminals killing off all cops). However, on a rare occasion, the hoods will kill the officers pursuing them and then flee the scene.
Street Criminals also appear as random, minor enemies of the player in the game. Street Criminals usually appear robbing someone's car or wallet. The player then has the choice to either ignore the street criminals or go after them and beat them to a pulp, or kill them, and then either give back the person's wallet or car or drive away with the person's belongings. They'll appear as red dots on the maps while hostile.
Some street criminals may also try to steal cars, and kill or beat up other peds who run into their cars or themselves. In the re-release, gang members in hoods are more volatile and will respond to threats more quickly. On a rare occasion, some street criminals may try to steal the player's vehicle.
By following any Police Car that have randomly activated their sirens, they will eventually find an NPC criminal and engage in a car chase. This often happens near the Mission Row Police Station by following any patrol car (sirens off and patrolling). This also works with other patrol cars when the player calls the emergency services on their smartphone.
In GTA Online, a driver in a black Sentinel XS is seen driving past the player in a reckless manner and would either pose as a threat by engaging in a gunfight or run away from the player to avoid combat. The driver can also drive other vehicles such as the Patriot, Tailgater and the Dominator, but is always seen driving the black Sentinel XS, and the NPCs for the black Sentinel XS are randomized. The police will also use their megaphone (like they always do) to tell the street criminal to stop their car.
- Street criminals may steal vehicles which the player abandoned, including heavily damaged or already-on fire vehicles. This may result in the vehicle exploding right after they have obtained it, and trying to flee.
- This mostly happens when the player leaves the door open. Even when the car is off, the criminal will manage to turn it back on.
- In GTA V, when the ambulance comes around to check up on dead bodies, the paramedics will leave the door open. After a while, a criminal could be seen jacking the ambulance. This goes for all other emergency vehicles when the doors are open. If the emergency lights are left activated, the sirens will still go off and the criminal will not turn it off.
- In rare cases, if the paramedics are about to enter the ambulance right when the car jacker steals it, the paramedics will chase the car jacker or even throw them out and engage in a fist fight. The paramedics usually win since the car jacker usually tries to run away. (It is a possibility that the same may happen for other emergency services).
- In GTA III, the player can get a bomb on his car at 8-Ball's, activate it, and when the criminal is going to steal the player's car, if it's exited, the criminal will get in die from the ensuing explosion. This will result in a one star wanted level.
- The motorcycle vest worn by the punk in GTA: SA resembles a motorcycle jacket worn by some of the Hoods in the game Manhunt, which is also made by Rockstar. Furthermore, his mohawk resembles the mohawks donned by some of the members of the Smileys, another gang in the same game.
- In GTA San Andreas, if two street criminals somehow start shooting each other, they will miss every shot, and neither of them will get killed.