Essay on Organized Crime

Submitted By JJMel2000
Words: 956
Pages: 4

Organized Crime

These days, when somebody mentions organized crime, the first thing they may think is the TV show “The Soprano’s.” However, there isn’t anything fiction about organized crime. To properly begin describing it, there should first be a definition. Donald Cressey attempted to define it in 1969, and the FBI had accepted that definition for several decades. That definition is as follows: “An organized crime is any crime committed by a person occupying, in an established division of labor, a position designed for the commission of crimes providing that such division of labor includes at least one position for a corrupter, one position for a corruptee, and one position for an enforcer.” (Abadinsky, 2009) The FBI must have felt a little fine tuning of that definition was necessary, and they ended up coming up with their own definition. The definition they currently use is as follows: “As any group having some manner of a formalized structure and whose primary objective is to obtain money through illegal activities. Such groups maintain their position through the use of actual or threatened violence, corrupt public officials, graft, or extortion, and generally have a significant impact on the people in their locales.” (Abadinsky, 2009). Just in case it is still a little unclear as to what organized crime is, the Department of Justice uses their own definition that states organized crime is “all illegal activities engaged in by members of criminal syndicates operative throughout the United States and all illegal activities engaged in by known associates and confederates of such.” (Abadinsky, 2009). Similarly, these three definition distinguish organized crime as an organization of people. The more specific definition, which is currently used by the FBI, gets into more detail than the others by including how the groups maintain their position. Also, the Department of Justice failed to recognize that organized crime exists in other countries. Nevertheless, how do law enforcement officials know when to categorize a chain of criminal events as an organized crime effort if there are numerous definitions? To ease the confusion, criminal researchers have developed a list of attributes that describe characteristics of a crime organization, so law enforcement officials can identify these groups much easier. The first attribute to be discussed is the basis of no political gain. Organized crime groups may have their foot in the political door, but not for political gain, rather for some sort of protection or immunity. Instead, these groups’ primary motive is aimed towards money and power. These groups have a certain rank structure, so the next attribute would be Hierarchical. This means the group just isn’t a bunch of pawns being controlled by one king. The rank structure puts people in charge of just the group below them to help with the delegation of tasks. The next attribute to consider when identifying an organized crime group is the limited membership requirements. Sometimes potential applicants need to fulfill certain requirements before being accepted into the organizations. Some of those requirements could include kinship of other members, race, and willingness to commit crime and follow orders. As a token of their membership, group members may possess a symbol of their membership in the attire they wear, or in tattoos they are permitted to obtain. Another set of attributes of organized crime groups include them constituting a unique subculture and perpetuate themselves to remain ongoing. This subculture allows the members to believe they are different from the rest of the society in which they live, and thus acts like they are above the rules. The acts that are carried out are meant to have a long lasting influence on the group’s reputation. These groups must also show signs of a monopolistic organization. If people wanted to engage in certain