February 16, 2014
Perception of Organized Crime According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (2014) organized crime is defined as “a group of individuals with an identified hierarchy, or comparable structure, engaged in significant criminal activity”. Organized crime groups are involved in significant criminal activity such as bribery, prostitution, embezzlement, counterfeiting, money laundering, murder for hire, gambling and drug trafficking. The perception of organized crime is skewed from popular movies, television shows, and lack of knowledge of organized crime. This paper is this author’s observation of organized crime prior to reading course material. Furthermore, the author’s definition of organized crime, perceptions and characteristics associated organized criminal behavior.
Definition of organized crime
This author would describe organized crime as a group of individuals who work together for the purpose of engaging in criminal activities for profit. They have strength in numbers and use their power to intimidate people for their personal gain. Organized crime can consist of criminal acts such as labor racketeering, gambling, drug trafficking, extortion, blackmail, human trafficking, prostitution, blackmail, and intimidation. Examples of familiar organized crime groups are the Mexican, Russian and the Italian mafia, however they expand much further and deeper than these few mentioned. This author’s definition is shaped from common knowledge of organized crime and stories from news reports such as 20/20 on organized crime.
The perception this author had prior to this class was naïve compared to the realization of text material. The author associated organized crime with television shows such as the Sopranos, Good fellows and the God Father and thought organized crime died out with real life mob boss, Al Capone. The only intellectual knowledge of organized crime came from news reports. The author also can based inexperienced perception of organized crime on growing up in a lower middle- class neighborhood in the foothills limiting the exposure to multicultural experiences or exposure to organized crime or any essence of that type of criminal activity. Moreover when comparing the author’s definitions to the ones in Mallory (2007) and Lyman & Potter (2007) the author’s definition was somewhat underdeveloped. One of the biggest enlightenment’s the author realized were the similarities among criminal organization, noted by the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS). NCIS stated that criminal organizations have four common similarities among the various organizations; groups have at least three members, the criminal activity is continuous, the group is driven by financial gain and/or power and the group commits serious criminal activity (Mallory, 2007). Additionally, the authors perceptions were debunked by FBI (2014) when they acknowledge that organized crime it a current criminal enterprise, that is a lucrative, thriving business for many criminal organizations. Moreover the FBI (2014) cast light on the face of today’s organized crime which included groups from Asia, China, Nigeria, Japan Romania, and Hungary which educated the author’s perception of the stereotypical Italian mafia.
The characteristics this author believes is associated with organized criminal behavior is low income, lack of parental guidance, living in poverty and run down neighborhoods, and low self esteem. Some surprising characteristic such as loyalty, commitment and trustworthiness are also among these criminal groups. Moreover I believe these characteristics stem