Introduction: My paper will cover the topic of how to how control organized crime and not just in the United States of America but also abroad. This is a country and others are wrought with opportunities, but many
would seek to use those opportunities improperly to illegal ends. The consequences of these criminals and their actions can be detrimental to the overall well-being of the general populace by introducing negative elements into the greater whole of society. For that reason, and many others, numerous agencies were created to police these crimes and the people who perpetrate them. Varying jurisdictions from local to federal are normally involved in the investigation and apprehension of these individuals. But before one can discuss the topic of how to control crime they must first have a clear definition of crime.
Resources Reviewed: Writer James Finckenauer in Organized crime and the Mafia discussed that organized crime in any form is not a new phenomenon. In 59-50 BCE, a man by the name of Clodius led a Roman mob of infamous repute. He defied the government, engaged in assault, associated with several characters of ill repute, and even had connections in the Roman Senate to help him with political problems. This man even had a rival in criminal practices, Milo, with whom he struggled for a period of time before being killed by him. These and other historical accounts lead to the conclusion that the problem of Organized Crime is indeed an old one. It is also a very diverse problem made up of innumerable organizations. While the Mafia is the most recognizable form of organized crime in America there are many others as well including: urban street gangs, Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, the Russian Mafiya, the Japanese Yakuza, the Chinese Mafia, Columbian cartels, and many others.
Writer Howard Abadinsky in Organized Crime discussed the definition of organized crime. Organized crime is basically thought to involve a group of two or more people who are determined to do one of two things. The first objective is to answer the call of demand for items or services that cannot be legally obtained through other means. Some examples might include the sale of drugs or alcohol, the control and exploitation of sexual deeds, or laundering money. These things make up for a vast amount of the overall profit made by certain individuals involved with organized crime. It is also diligent to note that many of these things, and others like them, is almost always dependant upon the general public to thrive. The largest difficulty some agencies have is not finding the criminals, but instead the greater challenge proves to be convincing the public of the dangers of associating with or seeking to benefit from these seemingly harmless vices. The second objective of these individuals is predatory crime. Some examples of this might include assault, arson, kidnapping, or robbery. These are the more socially reprehensible crimes which give organized crime its relative bad reputation. While many citizens would not condone many of these actions, they might unknowingly sponsor their occurrence by indirectly funding them.
Organized crime can be narrowed down to five unique areas of criminal activity.
• The first being racketeering, an umbrella term, meant to describe when any group or groups conduct one or more of the other criminal activities. One of the most successful ways the federal government has been able to hinder the actions of hardcore criminals is through the formation of the RICO Act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations).
• The second area of major criminal activity is vice, or Vice operations. This has to do with victim-less crimes such as drugs, gambling, and prostitution. Again, these crimes are highly problematic because it is the public that decides whether or not they prosper. It’s all to easy to build a case against someone breaking a law by importing huge quantities of controlled substances across a border, but it becomes much more difficult to stem the sale or need for such drugs once they have reached their intended destinations.
• The third area of Organized crime is Theft or Fencing Rings. This is simply when a group of criminals who specialize in a certain type of thievery obtain money or goods through illegal channels, and then redistributes those assets for a profit. This might include anything from fraud on all levels, to document forgery, and grand theft auto.
• A fourth area that various justice agencies must deal with is gangs. Gang activity is usually described as a group of people committing crimes for the purpose of gaining wealth, status, or some other predetermined goal. Gangs can be made up of anyone and include both youths and adults of both genders.
• The fifth and final area is Terrorists. This is when any group commits a crime for the purpose of illegitimately affecting social and or governmental policies or outcomes. (Abadinsky 3)
“The Federal Bureau of Investigations once used this definition of Organized Crime- An organized crime is any crime committed by a person occupying, in an established division of labor, a position designed for the commission of crime, providing that such a division of labor also includes at least one position for a corrupted, one position for a corruptee, and one position for an enforcer.” (Abadinsky 4)
It is also important to realize that Organized Crime is not an issue relegated to any one area. The national OC organization still is a part of a larger entity. By sharing knowledge, experience, and relevant information the various interest of justice can be carried out at home and abroad.
Writers Ryan and Rush in Understanding Organzied Crime in Global Perspective discussed a unique view of global leadership as it regards to OC practices. Drawing off Donald Cressey’s model of “the traditional or governmental conceptualization” they purport that one of the most frustrating problems with identifying the leadership of the OC networks, at home or abroad, is one of autonomy. Much like the indications of Mafia boss Joe Bonanno in the mid 80’s regarding OC crime in America, the global leadership of OC activities may simply be forum of individuals representing different interests. While the influences of these individuals may be broad, they have no legitimate power or authority to rule the global OC network and their opinions may only be respected by other members to a certain degree.
Writer Rene Seindal in MAFIA discussed the sometimes strenuous relationship between Organized crime and the societies in which they exist. He wrote that there are basically four symbiotic relationships necessary for OC to prosper. OC must have some type of political power by being associated through some means with the party factions or elected officials. OC must have financial power, usually gained through controlling local or regional capital and means of production. A relationship with both the judiciary and the policing bodies must be established so as to prevent major incursions upon OC business and lifestyle. Through these four ties we can see that OC is a legitimate, far-reaching threat which pervades the lives of the citizenry of any populace.
Writer Michael D. Maltz in Measuring the Effectiveness of Organized Crime Control Efforts discussed the types of harm that can be observed from OC activities. Physical harm is brought about through acts of intimidation and homicide, as well as many other violent acts. A certain degree of economic harm can be seen from acts such as destruction of property, business loss, and other financial manipulation. These are the most prevalent, followed by psychological harm, harm done to a particular community, and societal harm.
Writers Webster, Borchgrave, Peterson, Burke, Cilluffo, and Nelson in Russian Organized Crime and Corruption discussed how broad the problem of OC can grow. He states that governments and law enforcement officials have witnessed at least 200 groups tied to Russian Organized Crime in other countries. These countries include the following: North America, Israel, Brazil, Columbia, Austria, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, and Sri Lanka. During the fall of the Soviet Union it appears that the OC groups in Russia underwent a period of rapid growth. In the same way viruses attack a weakened immune system these criminal elements were able to flourish during that time. One visiting New York Times columnist, Thomas L. Friedman, had this to say about the state of Russia. “At every level, different ministries, department heads, agencies, governates and mayoralties have gone into partnership with private businesses, local oligarchs or criminal elements, creating a kind of 21st century Russian feudalism.” (Webster xiii) Privatization as he mentions has reduced one of the largest and potentially one of the most powerful countries in the world rotten to the core.
Writers Finckenauer and Schrock in The Prediction and Control of Organized Crime discussed the skewed dynamic that exists in Ukraine between OC and business systems. They describe how a general distrust of the government’s ability to safe guard businesses and their money drive businessmen into shadowy deals with criminals. Such deals then result in strong dependencies on both sides and make it difficult for law enforcement to penetrate the power structures of the increasing amount of OC networks. All the while, these networks and the business relations they have acquired continue to weaken government’s own infrastructure.
Writer Alfredo Schulte-Bobkholt in The Politics of Organized Crime and the Organized Crime of Politics discussed another problem with OC, and this one had world wide consequences. According to a study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), entitled the Esteva Report, the global economy has been going into the negative for several years. The origins of this deficit can be traced back to the late 1960’s and came about as the result of the sum total of countries surpluses and deficits. These two figures were supposed to negate each other, but by the mid 1980’s the total had skyrocketed to over US$600 billion. It continued to grow into the late 1980’s when it reached US$ 1 trillion, an amount which at that time corresponded with the debts of developing countries in the global economy. It has been theorized that this amount has grown considerably due to funds which disappear as a result of OC activities.
Research Indications: The research I’ve studied restates the common knowledge that there is a nationwide, illegal organization dedicated to the prospect of earning large sums of money by participating in, or arranging for varying, nefarious acts to occur. These acts range in seriousness from pick pocketing to grand theft auto to arson and murder. A great toll is placed upon those who must suffer the consequences of the acts and society is general is placed in harm’s way when they are allowed to continue. This syndicate, or collection of groups, is one that relies heavily on the generosity and naivety of the common citizen to survive and prosper.
Research indicates that while this problem is not a new one there are constantly new ways in which the criminal undertakings of this organization are unfolding in today’s society. The rapid evolution of this group is accelerated by many factors within the societies in which they exist. Through improper manipulation of governments and ruling bodies, this group ensures its business will continue. The influences of this group are extensive in nature and not without repercussions for the greater portion of society which in turn does not benefit from the actions taken by it. While many sources of information about this group are known few have relevant or well researched data and more than a few are specifically used for disinformation. Research also indicates that this group operates in conjunction with several known criminal elements from multiple countries in attempts to further expand their control of international markets. While the leaders and agents of these and other groups can be debated their existence has been proven time and again. And while no one agency, jurisdiction, or country is presently equipped to completely do away with these groups all of the above can be utilized in the further investigation and hindrance of said groups.
Analysis: Organized Crime, and crime in general, is a function of people illegally obtaining goods or services they would not legally be entitled to. A large economy has been created to continuously provide the necessary elements that demand calls for. The money and other funds that this economy uses comes largely from the legitimate business world which in turn gives back only a fraction of what it has taken. Serious problems emerge when these illegitimate funds are then infused into legitimate business dealings, as the money made by criminals is then relied upon by normal citizens. By entertaining so-called “victim-less” crimes and refusing to take the effects of such crimes into account the average law abiding citizen is basically funding the downfall, or to a lesser extent, the corruption and chaos which limits the governments that are supposed to protect them. Societies have plagued by crime, greed, and all types of vice for millennia, but never before have the two concepts of globalization and a criminally based free market been so powerful. As the globe shrunk in terms of shipping and processing the means of production and the overall demand has steadily been increasing. Those situated near the top of this organization are expendable at best and there are hundreds if not thousands ready to fill the space they would leave if brought to justice.
Conclusion: It is not enough for the many countries of the world to declare war on crime. Mere declarations hold little importance in the grand scheme of history. Since the days of the Roman Senate men have been calling for an end to corruption. And rest assured many of the same politicians were being-paid off by all number and manner of criminals. And the crime that existed in the Roman society has morphed and changed into the problem we are faced with today. It is not just one country or one bad society. Wherever there is law there will be disorder. In fact, the law is only a useful tool when attempting to point out someone’s shortcomings. Every society faces it own struggle to prevent subversive behavior and squelch anarchy.
Governments are powerful, until they are pitted directly against its people. Then the small numbers in the governing body seem to dwindle to the rightful paltry amount. When the citizens of a community look upon a criminal with romantic infatuation, instead of indignant outrage that person(s) can operate with a certain amount of impunity. When we allow a criminal element to feel at home within our finances, our society lore, our way of thinking; when we adopt a criminal mindset just to get ahead in our legitimate business dealings we are truly at risk of failing to be good citizens. It was once said that the best ways to measure the level of civilization in a group was to see how they used soap, and how they treated their prisoners. Today we live in countries that are described as dirty from the inside out, and we idolize some of our criminals more than our elected officials. Every year we give me to help crime happen than we do to pay educators. We have spent more money since the 1980’s to combat drugs than we have amassed in the national deficit. And that is still only the drugs moving through America. Anywhere from 30-50% is being consumed elsewhere in the world, and all that money is being used to invest in more illegal dealings, bribe city officials and police departments, and destabilize both economic and social values.
When people everywhere decide crime is going to be an issue for them, it will remain a looming problem for us all. Different agencies cannot hope to effectively combat this problem alone and times call for law enforcement organizations to strive to reach a new level of information exchange. Organized Crime spans the globe and its influence is indeed felt worldwide. This organization is massive foe for any enforcer of justice wishing to rid their realm of influence from criminal elements. Organized Crime must be met with organized laws, and organized cities, states, provinces, and commonwealths making up organized countries that reject the appeal of victim-less crimes and harmless funs. A solid resolve is needed to control crime and until that is the first piece of equipment in the equation people should continue to suffer under the oppressive reign of criminal powers.