Chapter 13: Organized Crime Chapter Outline

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Chapter 13: Organized Crime

Chapter Outline

The various definitions of organized crime are presented as well as the various types of organized crime groups. Street Gangs are all violent and contain 4 different members: legits, homeboys, dope fiends, and new jacks. International organized crime thrives in liberal democracies and corrupt dictatorships. The Yakuza (Japanese), Chinese Triad Societies, and Russian Organized Crime Syndicates are all examples of International Organized Crime. There are different types of organized crime groups that use money laundering and drug trafficking within their organization.

Three theories are presented in relation to syndicate crime in the United States: Cosa Nostra Theory (The Cressey Model), The Patron Theory (The Albini Model), and the Enterprise Theory (Smith). The classical pattern of organized crime involves strategic and tactical crimes as well as illegal businesses and activities. The chapter discusses a brief history of organized crime in the United States starting before the year 1930 and running through several “periods”. There have been both public and legal reactions to organized crime. Drug control strategies have been set into place as well as various investigative procedures. Both Anomie and Differential Opportunity Theories are used in conjunction with the research of organized crime.

  • Defining “Organized Crime

  • Street Gangs

  • International Organized Crime

  • The Nature of Organized Crime

  • Drug Trafficking

  • Theories of the Nature of Syndicate Crime in the United States

  • The Classic Pattern of Organized Crime

  • A Brief History of Organized Crime in the United States

  • Criminal Careers of Organized Criminals

  • Public and Legal Reaction

  • Theory and Crime

Defining “Organized Crime”

  • “Organized crime” has been described in different ways.

  • Organized Crime (generic): Refers to group crime of any type.

  • Organized Crime (criminological): Groups that:

      1. Utilize violence or threats of violence;

      2. Provide illicit goods that are in public demand; and

      3. Assure immunity for their operators through corruption and enforcement.

Defining “Organized Crime” (cont’d)

  • It may be useful to think of organized crime as a continuum.

  • Types of Organized Crime (Albini):

    • Political-Social Organized Crime

    • Mercenary (Predatory) Organized Crime

    • In-Group Oriented Organized Crime

    • Syndicate Crime

Street Gangs
Four Myths of Street Gangs (Klein):

  1. They are highly organized, very cohesive, and have centralized leadership.

  2. Street gangs are all violent.

  3. Street gangs control drug distribution in our cities.

  4. Los Angeles gangs franchise drug distribution to the rest of the country.

Street Gangs (cont’d)
Gang Member Typology (Hagedorn):
1. “Legits” mature out of gangs.

2. “Homeboys” alternate between

legitimate jobs and drug sales.

      • This is a majority of African-American and Latino adult gang members.

3. “Dope Fiends” stayed in the drug business in order to feed their habits.

4 “New Jacks” view illegal drug sales as their career.

International Organized Crime

  • Organized crime thrives in:

  • Yakuza: The Japanese term for gangsters.

    • Most from lower-class backgrounds

    • More open regarding membership than similar groups in U.S

International Organized Crime (cont’d)

  • Chinese Triad Societies

    • Name derived from ritualistic use of numerology.

    • History traces back 2,000 years.

    • Highly diverse in level of criminal involvement.

  • Russian Organized Crime

    • Most publicized groups in the 1990s

    • Largest groups: Solntsevo & Tambov

    • Russian Mafiya: A generic term for a type of criminal who arose out of social, economic, and historical forces in Russia.

The Nature of Organized Crime (cont’d)
Types of Organized Crime Groups (identified by U.N.):

  1. Rigid hierarchy

  2. Devolved hierarchy

  3. Hierarchical conglomerate

  4. Core criminal group

  5. Organized criminal network

The Nature of Organized Crime (cont’d)
Money laundering: Making clean or washing “dirty money” (illegal funds).
Money laundering is a three-step process:

  1. Placement

  2. Layering

  3. Integration

  • Casinos are common locations for this.

  • The IRS requires the reporting of any deposits of more than $10,000 in cash.

Drug Trafficking

  • Drug Trafficking

    • From sources worldwide.

    • Some primary locations:

      • The Golden Triangle

      • The Golden Crescent

      • Latin America

  • Colombian Cartels

  • The Underground Empire

  • Mexico’s Drug War

Theories of the Nature of Syndicate Crime in the U.S.

  • Cosa Nostra Theory (The Cressey Model)

  • The Patron Theory (The Albini Model)

      • Consists of a series of patron-client relationships.

      • Those with the most power can provide the most service.

      • Characterized by conflict.

  • Enterprise Theory (Smith)

The Classic Pattern of Organized Crime

  • Strategic and Tactical Crimes

    • Willingness to use force or threats assures discipline.

    • Assault, coercion, extortion, and murder are all used in the pursuit of profit.

    • Blackmail, bribery, and corruption are essential strategic tools of organized crime.

The Classic Pattern of Organized Crime (cont’d)

  • Illegal Businesses and Activities

    • Gambling and related activities

    • Loan Sharking

    • Labor Racketeering

    • Narcotics Trafficking

    • Human Smuggling

      • Prostitution/Pornography

A Brief History of Organized Crime in The U.S.

  • Before 1930

    • Robber Barons

    • Industrial Pirates

  • The Luciano Period

  • The Genovese Period

  • The Appalachian Meetings

  • The Gambino Period

  • The Commission Trials

Criminal Careers of Organized Criminals

  • Organized criminals tend to:

    • Maintain their livelihood through crime;

    • Identify with crime and criminal activity;

    • Possess strong organizational identity;

    • Belong to structured groups;

    • Come from low income areas;

    • Subscribe to a code of secrecy.

Public and Legal Reaction

  • Drug Control Strategies

    • Legalization

    • Use of Diplomacy

    • Interdiction

    • Targeting Major Traffickers

    • Departmental Coordination

    • “Demand Side” Strategies

Public and Legal Reaction (cont’d)

  • Investigative Procedures:

Legal Responses:

    • Hobbs Act

    • Organized Crime Control Act

      • RICO

    • Undercover Agents

    • Citizens Commissions

    • Computer-Assisted Investigation

Theory and Crime

  • Anomie Theory

    • Legitimate means to success are blocked and innovators substitute other means (crime).

  • Differential Opportunity Theory

    • Organized crime is viewed as a good opportunity for being admired and successful .

    • Criminal subcultures socialize the individual into valuing criminal values and attitudes.

Chapter Summary

  • Defining “Organized Crime”

  • Street Gangs

  • International Organized Crime

  • The Nature of Organized Crime

  • Drug Trafficking

  • Theories of the Nature of Syndicate Crime in the United States

  • The Classic Pattern of Organized Crime

  • A Brief History of Organized Crime in the United States

  • Criminal Careers of Organized Criminals

  • Public and Legal Reaction

  • Theory and Crime

Key Concepts
Activities of Organized Criminals

Apalachin Meetings

Assets Forfeiture

Castellammarese Wars

CIA–Mafia Link

Classic Pattern of Organized Crime

Commission Trials

Continuum Model of Organized Crime

Ethnic Succession Theory

Four Basic Types of Organized Crime (Generic Definitions)

Hobbs Act

Internal Structure of LCN Families

International Political Climates and Organized Crime

Iron Law of Opium Trade

Kefauver Committee

Loan Sharking


Major Elements of La Cosa Nostra (LCN) Theory

Medellin Cartel

“Moustache Petes”

Numbers Game

Organized Crime Control Act

“Pizza Connection”



Theories of the Nature of U.S. Syndicate Crime

Theories Regarding Origin of Mafia

Three Elements of the Definition of Organized (Syndicate) Crime



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