Perception of Organized Crime

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Organized crime may be defined by the actions of groups involved in illegal activity. The movies and television may support their own definition of organized crime. The entertainment industry has a way of glamorizing organized crime. Organized Crime may have many characteristics that can be associated with criminal behavior. Crime is simple to define as a violation of laws or ordinances. The trick is to define organization as it refers to criminal activity. Organized crime is defined as groups of individuals working together to commit crimes. The crimes are in support of financial gain or the boost of personal power.

The individuals are structured within the group much like the local police force. The criminal organization may contain many levels of hierarchy. The movies and the television have glamorized organized crime for many years. The “Godfather” was a movie that allowed everyone a glimpse of life within Italian mafia families. The “Sopranos” was a television series that allowed many people to see the mob boss as a type of hero. Organized criminal groups are often operated much like the top Fortune 500 companies. The criminal organizations may use many of the same methods employed by successful businesses.

Organized crime is defined differently from the state and federal level and from each individual state. The local jurisdictions may consider organized crimes in different ways. A simple investigation can quickly turn to a complex investigation that involves organized criminal activity. The suspect can transform from a single individual to a group of individuals during an investigation. The mafia was labeled as organized crime and the term organized crime became popular during prohibition. The organized crime groups worked together and in competition with each other to make profit from making and selling illegal alcohol.

The corruption of public officials assisted the organized crime groups with their growth. (Mallory, 2007) Political and police corruption allow the organized criminal groups to grow and become stronger. The desire for money and power will often breed corruption. The organized criminal groups will feed off of the greed and need for power of public officials. The public officials are placed on the payrolls of organized crime groups. The public officials that cannot be bought are often faced with blackmail or extortion attempts. The organized criminal groups use businesses that appear legitimate to hide the profits from criminal activities. Mallory, 2007) The organized criminal groups operate much like a business.

The organized criminal group will be structured with levels of leadership and workers. The organized criminal groups have security and counter-surveillance teams in place to combat law enforcement efforts. The organized criminal groups have branched into the white collar crimes. The internet has become a source of deception and a safe haven for organized criminal groups. The internet allows the organized criminal groups to hide in a complex cyber world or protection. Scholarly materials may claim that organized crime can be committed by an individual.

Organization is often described or defined by more than one person working together for a common cause or goal. An individual is capable of planning and carrying out plans to commit criminal activity for profit or power. A single individual’s actions being considered organized crime could spark a debate between organization and premeditation. A premeditated crime is committed by a person with organizational skills but the organization that contains structure is missing. A structured organization would be in need of more than one individual to create the levels of hierarchy often described within organized crime groups.

Organized crime is defined as groups of individuals committing crimes for profit or power. The organized crime groups have structure and levels of hierarchy. The organized crime groups are often operated with principles much like businesses. The criminal organizations hide their profit under the appearance of legitimate businesses. The definition of organized crime can differ from individual jurisdictions. Organized criminal groups often operate with the help of corrupt public officials. The growth of organized crime depends on the need for greed and power accompanied by a demand for respect.

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