Organized crime is one of the greatest threats to American communities’ social order, and the pluralistic nature of the society has exposed the society to a web of international and domestic criminal groups with highly centralized enterprise structures engaging in illegal activities that generate a form of income or profit for them. Traditionally, organized crime mainly dominated narcotics and human trafficking, but over the years especially in the last century, organized gangs evolved to handle money laundering, firearms, and all forms illegal business. Several scholarly works have conducted several studies into understanding Organized crime in the United States. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, these associations perpetuate to carry out operations in pursuit of power, influence, and money and vary in their hierarchy structures.
Notably, they bear an insular characteristic and advance their interests and agenda through corruption, trans-boundary commerce, encrypted communication networks and a complex structural hierarchy in their chain of command. Although, there is no consensus of definition on the term “Organized crime”, the underlying similarity is the existence a group, rationally organized for profit through engaging in illegal activity. This paper will explore organized crime in a globalized world of commerce and different distribution channels for supply of illegal goods by these organizations. It will create a framework of how the Organized Crime responds to changes in transnational crime regulation and adapt for survival in the modern times.
Organized crime is a highly complex network of individuals working towards achieving a common goal of profit in selling certain goods and services in a manner that is illegal. Notably, they use means of violence and intimidation tactics to exert their influence in their areas of operations. The fact that the nature of their business is mainly in illegal goods demands that their communication networks are very secretive in nature and involve a lot of bloodsheds. They deal with goods ranging from guns to human trafficking for slaves. The following peer-reviewed scholarly articles look into how organized crime is rapidly evolving in a highly globalized setting by looking into the following key elements:
- Organized Crime in America today.
- Common Scholarly Definitions of Organized Crime t
iii. The emergence of Criminal Gangs in Communities
- Theories explaining the emergence of the groups
- Responses to deter Organized Crime by enforcement agencies
- The Structural organization of criminal groups
vii. How criminal gangs generate income.
ALBANESE, J. S. (2000). The Causes of Organized Crime: Do Criminals Organize Around Opportunities for Crime or Do Criminal Opportunities Create New Offenders? Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 16(4), 409-423. doi:10.1177/1043986200016004004
According to Albanese Organized crime is a broad concept that defines a group of individuals organized in an identity of an organization that mainly operates for profit using violent means to conduct their business and apply bribery and corruption to stay immune from the law. In a nutshell, any organized unit to carry out activities motivated by profits using illegal means fits the definition of organized crime. Traditionally, the authors define cultural ties of a particular group like the Russian Mafia may cause the formation of a group to further the interests of that group. Central to his argument is the existence of a collective identity of ethnicity( Italian mob) or nature of the activity (Narcotics) or geographic location( Prison gangs) or means of transport ( Motorcycle gangs) that form the basis of the formation. Also, these criminal gangs are created to achieve a particular goal that generates some profits or control over an individual product in a monopolistic manner. Also, there is an ethnographic connection of Organized crime to market demands for certain goods or services. Criminal activities may not necessarily be for a single goal but may shift over time guided by demand and prices of certain products. Conclusively, organized crime is as a result of the existence of opportunity factors, the presence of a criminal environment and the groups’ possession of skills to carry out the crimes.
Finckenauer, J. O. (2005). Problems of definition: What is organized crime? Trends in Organized Crime, 8(3), 63-83. doi:10.1007/s12117-005-1038-4
Scholarly definitions of “organized crime have been a paradox between scholars and have played an in important role into how sound approaches into how investigators and prosecutors conduct their activities regarding organized crime. Finckenauer argues that the absence of a shared understanding of what constitutes to organized crime affects research studies on the issue and how legal jurisdictions convict criminals involved in organized crime. Additionally, public perceptions on the definitions are not substantially determined to render public policies and resources insufficient to counter the adverse effects of organized crime in society. The author argues that the most important aspect to address the definition crises is to create a public understanding of the characteristics of criminal activities that amount to organized crime as opposed to a similarity in the concept of the type of crimes.
Under U.S. Public Law, organized crime is captured in the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, 1968 in organizational dimension. However, it is a vague definition, and the author stipulates that an inclusion of specific types of crimes that associate with these organizations is imminent. The article suggests an identity of organized crime about the level of sophistication of certain offenses, an authoritative structural framework with a defined division of labor existing among the membership who identifies with a particular identity that involves a crime. Also, criminal organizations must possess a capacity to intimidate or instill fear among a significant section of a group in society. Any criminal gang that has these characteristics fall short of the definition of a criminal organization according to this author.
Fox, K. A., Lane, J., & Akers, R. L. (2010). Do perceptions of neighborhood disorganization predict crime or victimization? An examination of gang member versus non-gang member jail inmates. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(4), 720-729. doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2010.04.046
The author of this article critically examines the emergence of criminal gangs and the existing state of social order. In fact, the journal establishes the relationship that exists between social disorder, where the systems put in place to create order in a given setting of society fail there is more likely hood that there will emerge an organized crime gang to capitalize on the opportunity presented by the ailing systems. The authors analyze survey data from prisons to hypothesize the fact that where the socio-political systems are non-existence or ineffective to provide a state of order, there is more likelihood that such an environment breeds the ground for organized criminal groups to form and thrive. Many sociologists, in theory, agree that rapid urbanization of cities across the United States has resulted to the existence of a new spectrum where the ecological community control by law enforcement agencies is low or even non-existence. Additionally, intercommunity friendship networks that are born out of unsupervised peer groups eventually mature into organized crime gangs with a deep sense of loyalty among itself and membership. Also, there is the social disorganization occurs, there is a tendency of crime victimization go up, and organized crime emerge, as small scattered units at first, but later as stable gangs that are powerful and influential in society.
Gilmour, S., & France, R. (n.d.). Local Policing and Transnational Organized Crime. Routledge Handbook of Transnational Organized Crime. doi:10.4324/9780203698341.ch31
The article discusses the crime management model in regards to how geographical limitations of enforcement agencies affect and the policing approaches that an agency may be adopted to counter transnational organized crime. Transnational crime, in the studies cab, be adequately controlled by the policing organization establishing transnational frameworks that deal with criminal gangs in various countries. The best and most practical approaches include: Intelligence-led policing, Problem-based policing and Objective-based policing all formed on the principle of subsidiary. According to Gilmour, linking of police activities to the three approaches can significantly break the criminal chains of the organized crime while still maintaining the advantages of complex police model. Conclusively, the authors propose a consideration of an Intelligent fact-based solution based programs that focus on the crime continuum at the grassroots level with an emphasis on the threat, harm, and risk of organized crime across borders of the countries affected.
Wing Lo, T., & Kwok, S. I. (2012). Traditional Organized Crime in the Modern World: How Triad Societies Respond to Socioeconomic Change. Studies of Organized Crime, 67-89. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-3212-8_4
In this article, the author looks into how modern organized crime continues to adopt structural reforms to counter the tremendous efforts made at all levels of its operations. In fact, organized crime is evolving with the global forces of large-scale population migration and the emergence of multinational businesses and financial corporations. New Modern world organized crime have multiple structural frameworks spread across the world. For, example, The Chinese Triads have increasingly expanded into the US markets with a well-established chain of command. Additionally, there has been a new tendency between criminal groups forming partnerships to exploit new market opportunities for illegal goods especially like after the fall of the Soviet Union or the American bomb attacks in 9/11. The author explores the financial and security burden that this new form organized crime poses on the populations of where it exists.
Skaperdas, S. (2003). The political economy of organized crime: providing protection when the state does not. Conflict and Governance, 163-192. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-05121-4_10
Organized crime, according to this article exists to fill in power in the control of an important aspect a certain community and as a result, have huge economic benefits typically which are much higher than the normal levels. The author explores the various activities that criminal gangs engage in to raise income ranging from money laundering, drug trafficking, human trafficking and sale high tech illegal firearms.
In conclusion, as the peer-reviewed article in this bibliography show, Organized crime is one the growing threats to social order in the contemporary urban setting. The groups are ruthless and well organized in their operations. The identity of these criminal elements have evolved with globalizations, and today, they are spread across all continent bearing various identities and doing all kinds of illegal activities. To effectively control, the increasing power they are accumulating, it will become essential for the international agency response task force to break the transnational chains of these organized crime groups.