Controlling Organized Crime
CJA 384 Criminal Organizations
June 18, 2012
Organized crime continues to wave countless countries throughout the world. Organized crime groups thrive on money, power, and respect. The media has perpetuated a stereotypical view of organized crime in the form of made-for-television movies, theatrical releases, and weekly series. Organized crime associations are not all Italians who vigorously speak with their hands. Organized crime groups hide behind the façade of legitimate businesses to launder money, engage in racketeering, extortion, and other criminal acts. Organized crime is prevalent on a local, state, and federal level. Law enforcement agencies continue to look for solutions to combat organized crime by employing different methods and approaches to deter and punish those who profit from their criminal exploits.
Numerous theories offer insight into organized crime. According to Lyman (2007), “Cressey describes organized crime as a bureaucratic structure not unlike that adopted by governmental bureaucracies, such as police departments and federal law enforcement agencies. The primary unit of La Cosa Nostra is the family, which embodies male members of Italian ancestry. The family must abide by a code of conduct that prohibits members from revealing organization organizational secrets and that authorizes violent punishment for those who violate the code. In his book The Mafia Mystique, Smith argues that organized crime is nothing more than an extension of normal business operations into the illegal market. Smith maintains that organized crime comes from the same fundamental assumptions that govern entrepreneurship in the legitimate marketplace: a necessity to maintain and extend one’s share of the market” (Lyman, 2007).
The theories can help researchers, society, and law enforcement by offering numerous solutions and causes for how organized crime progresses. These theories are supported with solid research, statistics, strong arguments, and facts. These tools provide a reason, understanding, and probability for why the individual engages in illegal activity and why criminal organizations are successful.
The alien conspiracy theory says individuals involved with organized crime drifted to the United States. Once in the United States these groups created several criminal organizations throughout the United States and are responsible for bringing their criminal culture. The development of criminal organizations under the alien conspiracy theory was the consequence of immigrants needing to find a means to survive.
The social control theory states that an individual's involvement with a community and family will improve the possibility of the individual engaging in illegal activity. Also, individuals often consider the rewards and punishments to a criminal act before committing the act. If a community stays socially functionally, cooperates with anti-crime programs, and encourages moral values that respect local ordinances and laws, the development of criminal activity of any type will be difficult.
Differential association theory emphases on an individual who socializes with those who abstain from illegal activity will usually follow. The same goes for those who socialize with criminal deviants, juvenile delinquents, career criminals, or disregard the social norms within the community, in which one resides. These individuals will usually follow a path of wrongdoing.
The strain and anomie theory believes that individuals who engage in criminal activity do so as a consequence of wanting to gain a piece of the American dream or materialistic items of value. When one cannot gain these items through a legal means one will resort to illegal methods to do so. Unfortunately, criminal organizations can offer individuals residing in these conditions or living in poor lifestyles