In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term "crime" does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition, though statutory definitions have been provided for certain purposes. The most popular view is that crime is a category created by law; in other words, something is a crime if declared as such by the relevant and applicable law. One proposed definition is that a crime or offence (or criminal offence) is an act harmful not only to some individual but also to a community, society or the state ("a public wrong"). Such acts are forbidden and punishable by law.
The notion that acts such as murder, rape and theft are to be prohibited exists worldwide. What precisely is a criminal offence is defined by criminal law of each country. While many have a catalogue of crimes called the criminal code, in some common law countries no such comprehensive statute exists.
The state (government) has the power to severely restrict one's liberty for committing a crime. In modern societies, there are procedures to which investigations and trials must adhere. If found guilty, an offender may be sentenced to a form of reparation such as a community sentence, or, depending on the nature of their offence, to undergo imprisonment, life imprisonment or, in some jurisdictions, execution.
While every crime violates the law, not every violation of the law counts as a crime. Breaches of private law (torts and breaches of contract) are not automatically punished by the state, but can be enforced through civil procedure.
When informal relationships prove insufficient to establish and maintain a desired social order, a government or a state may impose more formalized or stricter systems of social control. With institutional and legal machinery at their disposal, agents of the State can compel populations to conform to codes and can opt to punish or attempt to reform those who do not conform.
Authorities employ various mechanisms to regulate (encouraging or discouraging) certain behaviors in general. Governing or administering agencies may for example codify rules into laws, police citizens and visitors to ensure that they comply with those laws, and implement other policies and practices that legislators or administrators have prescribed with the aim of discouraging or preventing crime. In addition, authorities provide remedies and sanctions, and collectively these constitute a criminal justice system. Legal sanctions vary widely in their severity; they may include (for example) incarceration of temporary character aimed at reforming the convict. Some jurisdictions have penal codes written to inflict permanent harsh punishments: legal mutilation, capital punishment or life without parole.
The sociologist Richard Quinney has written about the relationship between society and crime. When Quinney states "crime is a social phenomenon" he envisages both how individuals conceive crime and how populations perceive it, based on societal norms.
The word crime is derived from the Latin root cernō, meaning "I decide, I give judgment". Originally the Latin word crīmen meant "charge" or "cry of distress." The Ancient Greek word krima (κρίμα), from which the Latin cognate derives, typically referred to an intellectual mistake or an offense against the community, rather than a private or moral wrong.
In 13th century English crime meant "sinfulness", according to etymonline.com. It was probably brought to England as Old French crimne (12th century form of Modern French crime), from Latin crimen (in the genitive case: criminis). In Latin, crimen could have signified any one of the following: "charge, indictment, accusation; crime, fault, offense".
The word may derive from the Latin cernere – "to decide, to sift" (see crisis, mapped on Kairos and Chronos). But Ernest Klein (citing Karl Brugmann) rejects this and suggests *cri-men, which originally would have meant "cry of distress". Thomas G. Tucker suggests a root in "cry" words and refers to English plaint, plaintiff, and so on. The meaning "offense punishable by law" dates from the late 14th century. The Latin word is glossed in Old English by facen, also "deceit, fraud, treachery", [cf. fake]. Crime wave is first attested in 1893 in American English.
Whether a given act or omission constitutes a crime does not depend on the nature of that act or omission. It depends on the nature of the legal consequences that may follow it. An act or omission is a crime if it is capable of being followed by what are called criminal proceedings.
The following definition of "crime" was provided by the Prevention of Crimes Act 1871, and applied for the purposes of section 10 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1908:
The expression "crime" means, in England and Ireland, any felony or the offence of uttering false or counterfeit coin, or of possessing counterfeit gold or silver coin, or the offence of obtaining goods or money by false pretences, or the offence of conspiracy to defraud, or any misdemeanour under the fifty-eighth section of the Larceny Act, 1861.
For the purpose of section 243 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, a crime means an offence punishable on indictment, or an offence punishable on summary conviction, and for the commission of which the offender is liable under the statute making the offence punishable to be imprisoned either absolutely or at the discretion of the court as an alternative for some other punishment.
A normative definition views crime as deviant behavior that violates prevailing norms – cultural standards prescribing how humans ought to behave normally. This approach considers the complex realities surrounding the concept of crime and seeks to understand how changing social, political, psychological, and economic conditions may affect changing definitions of crime and the form of the legal, law-enforcement, and penal responses made by society.
These structural realities remain fluid and often contentious. For example: as cultures change and the political environment shifts, societies may criminalise or decriminalise certain behaviours, which directly affects the statistical crime rates, influence the allocation of resources for the enforcement of laws, and (re-)influence the general public opinion.
Similarly, changes in the collection and/or calculation of data on crime may affect the public perceptions of the extent of any given "crime problem". All such adjustments to crime statistics, allied with the experience of people in their everyday lives, shape attitudes on the extent to which the State should use law or social engineering to enforce or encourage any particular social norm. Behaviour can be controlled and influenced by a society in many ways without having to resort to the criminal justice system.
Indeed, in those cases where no clear consensus exists on a given norm, the drafting of criminal law by the group in power to prohibit the behaviour of another group may seem to some observers an improper limitation of the second group's freedom, and the ordinary members of society have less respect for the law or laws in general – whether the authorities actually enforce the disputed law or not.
Legislatures can pass laws (called mala prohibita) that define crimes against social norms. These laws vary from time to time and from place to place: note variations in gambling laws, for example, and the prohibition or encouragement of duelling in history. Other crimes, called mala in se, count as outlawed in almost all societies, (murder, theft and rape, for example).
English criminal law and the related criminal law of Commonwealth countries can define offences that the courts alone have developed over the years, without any actual legislation: common law offences. The courts used the concept of malum in se to develop various common law offences.
One can view criminalization as a procedure deployed by society as a preemptive harm-reduction device, using the threat of punishment as a deterrent to anyone proposing to engage in the behavior causing harm. The State becomes involved because governing entities can become convinced that the costs of not criminalizing (through allowing the harms to continue unabated) outweigh the costs of criminalizing it (restricting individual liberty, for example, to minimize harm to others).
States control the process of criminalization because:
The label of "crime" and the accompanying social stigma normally confine their scope to those activities seen as injurious to the general population or to the State, including some that cause serious loss or damage to individuals. Those who apply the labels of "crime" or "criminal" intend to assert the hegemony of a dominant population, or to reflect a consensus of condemnation for the identified behavior and to justify any punishments prescribed by the State (in the event that standard processing tries and convicts an accused person of a crime).
Justifying the State's use of force to coerce compliance with its laws has proven a consistent theoretical problem. One of the earliest justifications involved the theory of natural law. This posits that the nature of the world or of human beings underlies the standards of morality or constructs them. Thomas Aquinas wrote in the 13th century: "the rule and measure of human acts is the reason, which is the first principle of human acts" (Aquinas, ST I-II, Q.90, A.I). He regarded people as by nature rational beings, concluding that it becomes morally appropriate that they should behave in a way that conforms to their rational nature. Thus, to be valid, any law must conform to natural law and coercing people to conform to that law is morally acceptable. In the 1760s William Blackstone (1979: 41) described the thesis:
But John Austin (1790–1859), an early positivist, applied utilitarianism in accepting the calculating nature of human beings and the existence of an objective morality. He denied that the legal validity of a norm depends on whether its content conforms to morality. Thus in Austinian terms, a moral code can objectively determine what people ought to do, the law can embody whatever norms the legislature decrees to achieve social utility, but every individual remains free to choose what to do. Similarly, Hart (1961) saw the law as an aspect of sovereignty, with lawmakers able to adopt any law as a means to a moral end.
Thus the necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of a proposition of law simply involved internal logic and consistency, and that the state's agents used state power with responsibility. Ronald Dworkin (2005) rejects Hart's theory and proposes that all individuals should expect the equal respect and concern of those who govern them as a fundamental political right. He offers a theory of compliance overlaid by a theory of deference (the citizen's duty to obey the law) and a theory of enforcement, which identifies the legitimate goals of enforcement and punishment. Legislation must conform to a theory of legitimacy, which describes the circumstances under which a particular person or group is entitled to make law, and a theory of legislative justice, which describes the law they are entitled or obliged to make.
Indeed, despite everything, the majority of natural-law theorists have accepted the idea of enforcing the prevailing morality as a primary function of the law. This view entails the problem that it makes any moral criticism of the law impossible: if conformity with natural law forms a necessary condition for legal validity, all valid law must, by definition, count as morally just. Thus, on this line of reasoning, the legal validity of a norm necessarily entails its moral justice.
One can solve this problem by granting some degree of moral relativism and accepting that norms may evolve over time and, therefore, one can criticize the continued enforcement of old laws in the light of the current norms. People may find such law acceptable, but the use of State power to coerce citizens to comply with that law lacks moral justification. More recent conceptions of the theory characterise crime as the violation of individual rights.
Since society considers so many rights as natural (hence the term "right") rather than man-made, what constitutes a crime also counts as natural, in contrast to laws (seen as man-made). Adam Smith illustrates this view, saying that a smuggler would be an excellent citizen, "...had not the laws of his country made that a crime which nature never meant to be so."
Natural-law theory therefore distinguishes between "criminality" (which derives from human nature) and "illegality" (which originates with the interests of those in power). Lawyers sometimes express the two concepts with the phrases malum in se and malum prohibitum respectively. They regard a "crime malum in se" as inherently criminal; whereas a "crime malum prohibitum" (the argument goes) counts as criminal only because the law has decreed it so.
It follows from this view that one can perform an illegal act without committing a crime, while a criminal act could be perfectly legal. Many Enlightenment thinkers (such as Adam Smith and the American Founding Fathers) subscribed to this view to some extent, and it remains influential among so-called classical liberals and libertarians.
Some religious communities regard sin as a crime; some may even highlight the crime of sin very early in legendary or mythological accounts of origins – note the tale of Adam and Eve and the theory of original sin. What one group considers a crime may cause or ignite war or conflict. However, the earliest known civilizations had codes of law, containing both civil and penal rules mixed together, though not always in recorded form.
The Sumerians produced the earliest surviving written codes. Urukagina (reigned c. 2380 BC – c. 2360 BC, short chronology) had an early code that has not survived; a later king, Ur-Nammu, left the earliest extant written law system, the Code of Ur-Nammu (c. 2100 – c. 2050 BC), which prescribed a formal system of penalties for specific cases in 57 articles. The Sumerians later issued other codes, including the "code of Lipit-Ishtar". This code, from the 20th century BCE, contains some fifty articles, and scholars have reconstructed it by comparing several sources.
The Sumerian was deeply conscious of his personal rights and resented any encroachment on them, whether by his King, his superior, or his equal. No wonder that the Sumerians were the first to compile laws and law codes.— Kramer
Successive legal codes in Babylon, including the code of Hammurabi (c. 1790 BC), reflected Mesopotamian society's belief that law derived from the will of the gods (see Babylonian law). Many states at this time functioned as theocracies, with codes of conduct largely religious in origin or reference. In the Sanskrit texts of Dharmaśāstra (c. 1250 BC), issues such as legal and religious duties, code of conduct, penalties and remedies, etc. have been discussed and forms one of the elaborate and earliest source of legal code.
Sir Henry Maine (1861) studied the ancient codes available in his day, and failed to find any criminal law in the "modern" sense of the word. While modern systems distinguish between offences against the "State" or "community", and offences against the "individual", the so-called penal law of ancient communities did not deal with "crimes" (Latin: crimina), but with "wrongs" (Latin: delicta). Thus the Hellenic laws treated all forms of theft, assault, rape, and murder as private wrongs, and left action for enforcement up to the victims or their survivors. The earliest systems seem to have lacked formal courts.
The Romans systematized law and applied their system across the Roman Empire. Again, the initial rules of Roman law regarded assaults as a matter of private compensation. The most significant Roman law concept involved dominion. The pater familias owned all the family and its property (including slaves); the pater enforced matters involving interference with any property. The Commentaries of Gaius (written between 130 and 180 AD) on the Twelve Tables treated furtum (in modern parlance: "theft") as a tort.
Similarly, assault and violent robbery involved trespass as to the pater's property (so, for example, the rape of a slave could become the subject of compensation to the pater as having trespassed on his "property"), and breach of such laws created a vinculum juris (an obligation of law) that only the payment of monetary compensation (modern "damages") could discharge. Similarly, the consolidated Teutonic laws of the Germanic tribes, included a complex system of monetary compensations for what courts would now consider the complete range of criminal offences against the person, from murder down.
Even though Rome abandoned its Britannic provinces around 400 AD, the Germanic mercenaries – who had largely become instrumental in enforcing Roman rule in Britannia – acquired ownership of land there and continued to use a mixture of Roman and Teutonic Law, with much written down under the early Anglo-Saxon kings. But only when a more centralized English monarchy emerged following the Norman invasion, and when the kings of England attempted to assert power over the land and its peoples, did the modern concept emerge, namely of a crime not only as an offence against the "individual", but also as a wrong against the "State".
This idea came from common law, and the earliest conception of a criminal act involved events of such major significance that the "State" had to usurp the usual functions of the civil tribunals, and direct a special law or privilegium against the perpetrator. All the earliest English criminal trials involved wholly extraordinary and arbitrary courts without any settled law to apply, whereas the civil (delictual) law operated in a highly developed and consistent manner (except where a king wanted to raise money by selling a new form of writ). The development of the idea that the "State" dispenses justice in a court only emerges in parallel with or after the emergence of the concept of sovereignty.
In continental Europe, Roman law persisted, but with a stronger influence from the Christian Church. Coupled with the more diffuse political structure based on smaller feudal units, various legal traditions emerged, remaining more strongly rooted in Roman jurisprudence, but modified to meet the prevailing political climate.
In Scandinavia the effect of Roman law did not become apparent until the 17th century, and the courts grew out of the things – the assemblies of the people. The people decided the cases (usually with largest freeholders dominating). This system later gradually developed into a system with a royal judge nominating a number of the most esteemed men of the parish as his board, fulfilling the function of "the people" of yore.
From the Hellenic system onwards, the policy rationale for requiring the payment of monetary compensation for wrongs committed has involved the avoidance of feuding between clans and families. If compensation could mollify families' feelings, this would help to keep the peace. On the other hand, the institution of oaths also played down the threat of feudal warfare. Both in archaic Greece and in medieval Scandinavia, an accused person walked free if he could get a sufficient number of male relatives to swear him not guilty. (Compare the United Nations Security Council, in which the veto power of the permanent members ensures that the organization does not become involved in crises where it could not enforce its decisions.)
These means of restraining private feuds did not always work, and sometimes prevented the fulfillment of justice. But in the earliest times the "state" did not always provide an independent policing force. Thus criminal law grew out of what 21st-century lawyers would call torts; and, in real terms, many acts and omissions classified as crimes actually overlap with civil-law concepts.
The development of sociological thought from the 19th century onwards prompted some fresh views on crime and criminality, and fostered the beginnings of criminology as a study of crime in society. Nietzsche noted a link between crime and creativity – in The Birth of Tragedy he asserted: "The best and brightest that man can acquire he must obtain by crime". In the 20th century Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punish made a study of criminalization as a coercive method of state control.
The following classes of offences are used, or have been used, as legal terms of art:
Researchers and commentators have classified crimes into the following categories, in addition to those above:
One can categorise crimes depending on the related punishment, with sentencing tariffs prescribed in line with the perceived seriousness of the offence. Thus fines and noncustodial sentences may address the crimes seen as least serious, with lengthy imprisonment or (in some jurisdictions) capital punishment reserved for the most serious.
Under the common law of England, crimes were classified as either treason, felony or misdemeanour, with treason sometimes being included with the felonies. This system was based on the perceived seriousness of the offence. It is still used in the United States but the distinction between felony and misdemeanour is abolished in England and Wales and Northern Ireland.
The following classes of offence are based on mode of trial:
In common law countries, crimes may be categorised into common law offences and statutory offences. In the US, Australia and Canada (in particular), they are divided into federal crimes and under state crimes.
In the United States since 1930, the FBI has tabulated Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) annually from crime data submitted by law enforcement agencies across the United States. Officials compile this data at the city, county, and state levels into the UCR. They classify violations of laws based on common law as Part I (index) crimes in UCR data. These are further categorized as violent or property crimes. Part I violent crimes include murder and criminal homicide (voluntary manslaughter), forcible rape, aggravated assault, and robbery; while Part I property crimes include burglary, arson, larceny/theft, and motor-vehicle theft. All other crimes count come under Part II.
Booking arrests require detention for a time-frame ranging 1 to 24 hours.
There are several national and International organizations offering studies and statistics about global and local crime activity, such as United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United States of America Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) safety report or national reports generated by the law-enforcement authorities of EU state member reported to the Europol.
Many different causes and correlates of crime have been proposed with varying degree of empirical support. They include socioeconomic, psychological, biological, and behavioral factors. Controversial topics include media violence research and effects of gun politics.
Emotional state (both chronic and current) have a tremendous impact on individual thought processes and, as a result, can be linked to criminal activities. The positive psychology concept of Broaden and Build posits that cognitive functioning expands when an individual is in a good-feeling emotional state and contracts as emotional state declines. In positive emotional states an individual is able to consider more possible solutions to problems, but in lower emotional states fewer solutions can be ascertained. The narrowed thought-action repertoires can result in the only paths perceptible to an individual being ones they would never use if they saw an alternative, but if they can't conceive of the alternatives that carry less risk they will choose one that they can see. Criminals who commit even the most horrendous of crimes, such as mass murders, did not see another solution.
Crimes defined by treaty as crimes against international law include:
From the point of view of state-centric law, extraordinary procedures (usually international courts) may prosecute such crimes. Note the role of the International Criminal Court at The Hague in the Netherlands.
Different religious traditions may promote distinct norms of behaviour, and these in turn may clash or harmonise with the perceived interests of a state. Socially accepted or imposed religious morality has influenced secular jurisdictions on issues that may otherwise concern only an individual's conscience. Activities sometimes criminalized on religious grounds include (for example) alcohol consumption (prohibition), abortion and stem-cell research. In various historical and present-day societies, institutionalized religions have established systems of earthly justice that punish crimes against the divine will and against specific devotional, organizational and other rules under specific codes, such as Roman Catholic canon law.
In the military sphere, authorities can prosecute both regular crimes and specific acts (such as mutiny or desertion) under martial-law codes that either supplant or extend civil codes in times of (for example) war.
Many constitutions contain provisions to curtail freedoms and criminalize otherwise tolerated behaviors under a state of emergency in the event of war, natural disaster or civil unrest. Undesired activities at such times may include assembly in the streets, violation of curfew, or possession of firearms.
The complexity and anonymity of computer systems may help criminal employees camouflage their operations. The victims of the most costly scams include banks, brokerage houses, insurance companies, and other large financial institutions.
In the United States, it is estimated that workers are not paid at least $19 billion every year in overtime and that in total $40 billion to $60 billion are lost annually due to all forms of wage theft. This compares to national annual losses of $340 million due to robbery, $4.1 billion due to burglary, $5.3 billion due to larceny, and $3.8 billion due to auto theft in 2012. In Singapore, as in the United States, wage theft was found to be widespread and severe. In a 2014 survey it was found that as many as one-third of low wage male foreign workers in Singapore, or about 130,000, were affected by wage theft from partial to full denial of pay.
The American Mafia (commonly referred to as the Mafia or the Mob, though "the Mob" can refer to other organized crime groups or organized crime in general) or Italian-American Mafia is a highly organized Italian-American criminal society. The organization is often referred to by members as Cosa Nostra (Italian pronunciation: [ˈkɔsa ˈnɔstra], our thing) and by the government as La Cosa Nostra (LCN). The organization's name is derived from the original Mafia or Cosa nostra, the Sicilian Mafia, and it originally emerged as an offshoot of the Sicilian Mafia; however, the organization eventually encompassed or absorbed other Italian-American gangsters and Italian-American crime groups (such as the American Camorra) living in the United States and Canada that are not of Sicilian origin. It is often colloquially referred to as the Italian Mafia or Italian Mob, though these terms may also apply to the separate yet related organized crime groups in Italy.
The Mafia in the United States emerged in impoverished Italian immigrant neighborhoods or ghettos in New York's East Harlem (or Italian Harlem), Lower East Side, and Brooklyn. It also emerged in other areas of the East Coast of the United States and several other major metropolitan areas (such as New Orleans and Chicago) during the late 19th century and early 20th century, following waves of Italian immigration especially from Sicily and other regions of Southern Italy. It has its roots in the Sicilian Mafia but is a separate organization in the United States. Neapolitan, Calabrian, and other Italian criminal groups in the U.S., as well as independent Italian-American criminals, eventually merged with Sicilian Mafiosi to create the modern pan-Italian Mafia in North America. Today, the American Mafia cooperates in various criminal activities with Italian organized crime groups, such as the Sicilian Mafia, the Camorra of Naples, and 'Ndrangheta of Calabria. The most important unit of the American Mafia is that of a "family," as the various criminal organizations that make up the Mafia are known. Despite the name of "family" to describe the various units, they are not familial groupings.The Mafia is currently most active in the northeastern United States, especially in New York City, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Buffalo and New England, in areas such as Boston, Providence and Hartford. It is also heavily active in Chicago and other large Midwestern cities such as Detroit, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City as well as in New Orleans, Florida, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, with smaller families, associates, and crews in other parts of the country. At the Mafia's peak, there were at least 26 cities around the United States with Cosa Nostra families, with many more offshoots and associates in other cities. There are five main New York City Mafia families, known as the Five Families: the Gambino, Lucchese, Genovese, Bonanno, and Colombo families. At its peak, the American Mafia dominated organized crime in the United States. Each crime family has its own territory (except for the Five Families) and operates independently, while nationwide coordination is overseen by the Commission, which consists of the bosses of each of the strongest families.
Today, most of the Mafia's activities are contained to the northeastern United States and Chicago, where they continue to dominate organized crime, despite the increasing numbers of other crime groups.Capital punishment
Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a government-sanctioned practice whereby a person is killed by the state as a punishment for a crime. The sentence that someone be punished in such a manner is referred to as a death sentence, whereas the act of carrying out the sentence is known as an execution. Crimes that are punishable by death are known as capital crimes or capital offences, and they commonly include offences such as murder, mass murder, terrorism, treason, espionage, offenses against the State, such as attempting to overthrow government, piracy, drug trafficking, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, but may include a wide range of offences depending on a country. Etymologically, the term capital (lit. "of the head", derived via the Latin capitalis from caput, "head") in this context alluded to execution by beheading.Fifty-six countries retain capital punishment, 106 countries have completely abolished it de jure for all crimes, eight have abolished it for ordinary crimes (while maintaining it for special circumstances such as war crimes), and 28 are abolitionist in practice.Capital punishment is a matter of active controversy in several countries and states, and positions can vary within a single political ideology or cultural region. In the European Union, Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits the use of capital punishment. The Council of Europe, which has 47 member states, has sought to abolish the use of the death penalty by its members absolutely, through Protocol 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights. However, this only affects those member states which have signed and ratified it, and they do not include Armenia, Russia, and Azerbaijan.
The United Nations General Assembly has adopted, in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, non-binding resolutions calling for a global moratorium on executions, with a view to eventual abolition. Although most nations have abolished capital punishment, over 60% of the world's population live in countries where the death penalty is retained, such as China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, among all mostly Islamic countries, as is maintained in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Sri Lanka. China executes more people than all other countries combined.Colombo crime family
The Colombo crime family (pronounced [koˈlombo]) is the youngest of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal organization known as the Mafia (or Cosa Nostra). It was during Lucky Luciano's organization of the American Mafia after the Castellammarese War, and the assassinations of Giuseppe "Joe The Boss" Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, that the gang run by Joseph Profaci was recognized as the Profaci crime family.
The family traces its roots to a bootlegging gang formed by Joseph Profaci in 1928. Profaci would rule his family without interruption or challenge until the late 1950s. The family has been torn by three internal wars. The first war took place during the late 1950s when capo Joe Gallo revolted against Profaci, but it lost momentum in the early 1960s when Gallo was arrested and Profaci died of cancer. The family was not reunited until the early 1960s under Joseph Colombo. In 1971, the second family war began after Gallo's release from prison and the shooting of Colombo. Colombo supporters led by Carmine Persico won the second war after the exiling of the remaining Gallo crew to the Genovese family in 1975. The family would then enjoy over 15 years of peace under Persico and his string of acting bosses.
In 1991, the third and bloodiest war erupted when acting boss Victor Orena tried to seize power from the imprisoned Carmine Persico. The family split into factions loyal to Orena and Persico, and two years of mayhem ensued. It ended in 1993, with 12 family members dead and Orena imprisoned, leaving Persico the winner more or less by default. He was left with a family decimated by war. Persico continued to run the family until his death in 2019, but it has never recovered from the war. In the 2000s, the family was further crippled by multiple convictions in federal racketeering cases and numerous members becoming government witnesses. Many levels of law enforcement believe that the Colombo crime family is the weakest of the Five Families of New York City.Crime film
Crime films, in the broadest sense, are a cinematic genre inspired by and analogous to the crime fiction literary genre. Films of this genre generally involve various aspects of crime and its detection. Stylistically, the genre may overlap and combine with many other genres, such as drama or gangster film, but also include comedy, and, in turn, is divided into many sub-genres, such as mystery, suspense or noir.Criminology
Criminology (from Latin crīmen, "accusation" originally derived from the Ancient Greek verb "krino" "κρίνω", and Ancient Greek -λογία, -logy|-logia, from "logos" meaning: “word,” “reason,” or “plan”) is the scientific study of the nature, extent, management, causes, control, consequences, and prevention of criminal behavior, both on individual and social levels. Criminology is an interdisciplinary field in both the behavioral and social sciences, drawing primarily upon the research of sociologists, psychologists, philosophers, psychiatrists, biologists, social anthropologists, as well as scholars of law.
The term criminology was coined in 1885 by Italian law professor Raffaele Garofalo as criminologia. Later, French anthropologist Paul Topinard used the analogous French term criminologie.From 1900 through to 2000 the study underwent three significant phases in the United States: (1) Golden Age of Research (1900-1930)-which has been described as a multiple-factor approach, (2) Golden Age of Theory (1930-1960)-which shows that there was no systematic way of connecting criminological research to theory, and (3) a 1960-2000 period-which was seen as a significant turning point for criminology.Cybercrime
Cybercrime, or computer-oriented crime, is a crime that involves a computer and a network.The computer may have been used in the commission of a crime, or it may be the target.Cybercrimes can be defined as: "Offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm, or loss, to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (networks including chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones (Bluetooth/SMS/MMS)". Cybercrime may threaten a person or a nation's security and financial health. Issues surrounding these types of crimes have become high-profile, particularly those surrounding hacking, copyright infringement, unwarranted mass-surveillance, sextortion, child pornography, and child grooming. There are also problems of privacy when confidential information is intercepted or disclosed, lawfully or otherwise. Debarati Halder and K. Jaishankar further define cybercrime from the perspective of gender and defined 'cybercrime against women' as "Crimes targeted against women with a motive to intentionally harm the victim psychologically and physically, using modern telecommunication networks such as internet and mobile phones". Internationally, both governmental and non-state actors engage in cybercrimes, including espionage, financial theft, and other cross-border crimes. Cybercrimes crossing international borders and involving the actions of at least one nation state is sometimes referred to as cyberwarfare.
A report (sponsored by McAfee), published in 2014, estimated that the annual damage to the global economy was $445 billion. Approximately $1.5 billion was lost in 2012 to online credit and debit card fraud in the US. In 2018, a study by Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in partnership with McAfee, concludes that close to $600 billion, nearly one percent of global GDP, is lost to cybercrime each year.Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes.Although many of the FBI's functions are unique, its activities in support of national security are comparable to those of the British MI5 and the Russian FSB. Unlike the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which has no law enforcement authority and is focused on intelligence collection abroad, the FBI is primarily a domestic agency, maintaining 56 field offices in major cities throughout the United States, and more than 400 resident agencies in smaller cities and areas across the nation. At an FBI field office, a senior-level FBI officer concurrently serves as the representative of the Director of National Intelligence.Despite its domestic focus, the FBI also maintains a significant international footprint, operating 60 Legal Attache (LEGAT) offices and 15 sub-offices in U.S. embassies and consulates across the globe. These foreign offices exist primarily for the purpose of coordination with foreign security services and do not usually conduct unilateral operations in the host countries. The FBI can and does at times carry out secret activities overseas, just as the CIA has a limited domestic function; these activities generally require coordination across government agencies.
The FBI was established in 1908 as the Bureau of Investigation, the BOI or BI for short. Its name was changed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1935. The FBI headquarters is the J. Edgar Hoover Building, located in Washington, D.C.Five Families
The Five Families are the five major New York City organized crime families of the Italian American Mafia.
The term was first used in 1931, when Salvatore Maranzano formally organized the previously warring gangs into what are now known as the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese crime families, each with demarcated territory, organizationally structured in a now-familiar hierarchy, and having them reporting up to the same overarching governing entity. Initially Maranzano intended each family's boss to report to him as the capo di tutti capi (boss of all bosses), but this led to his assassination and by September the role was replaced by The Commission, which continues to govern American Mafia activities in the United States and Canada.Gambino crime family
The Gambino crime family (pronounced [ɡamˈbiːno]) is one of the "Five Families" that dominate organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia (or Cosa Nostra). The group, which went through five bosses between 1910 and 1957, is named after Carlo Gambino, boss of the family at the time of the McClellan hearings in 1963, when the structure of organized crime first gained public attention. The group's operations extend from New York and the eastern seaboard to California. Its illicit activities include labor and construction racketeering, gambling, loansharking, extortion, money laundering, prostitution, fraud, hijacking, pier thefts, and fencing.
The family was one of the five families that were founded in New York after the Castellammarese War of 1931. For most of the next quarter-century, it was a minor player in organized crime. Its most prominent member during this time was its underboss Albert Anastasia, who rose to infamy as the operating head of the underworld's enforcement arm, Murder, Inc. He remained in power even after Murder, Inc. was smashed in the late 1940s, and took over his family in 1951—by all accounts, after murdering the family's founder Vincent Mangano.
The rise of what was the most powerful crime family in America for a time began in 1957, when Anastasia was assassinated while sitting in a barber chair at the Park Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan. Experts believe that Anastasia's underboss Carlo Gambino helped orchestrate the hit to take over the family. Gambino partnered with Meyer Lansky to control gambling interests in Cuba. The family's fortunes grew through 1976, when Gambino appointed his brother-in-law Paul Castellano as boss upon his death. Castellano infuriated upstart capo John Gotti, who orchestrated Castellano's murder in 1985. Gotti's downfall came in 1992, when his underboss Salvatore "Sammy Bull" Gravano decided to cooperate with the FBI. Gravano's cooperation brought down Gotti, along with most of the top members of the Gambino family. The family was headed by acting boss Frank Cali until his murder outside his Staten Island home on March 13, 2019.Hate crime
A hate crime (also known as a bias-motivated crime or bias crime) is a prejudice-motivated crime which occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her membership (or perceived membership) in a certain social group or race.
Examples of such groups can include and are almost exclusively limited to: sex, ethnicity, disability, language, nationality, physical appearance, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation. Non-criminal actions that are motivated by these reasons are often called "bias incidents".
"Hate crime" generally refers to criminal acts which are seen to have been motivated by bias against one or more of the social groups listed above, or by bias against their derivatives. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, mate crime or offensive graffiti or letters (hate mail).A hate crime law is a law intended to deter bias-motivated violence. Hate crime laws are distinct from laws against hate speech: hate crime laws enhance the penalties associated with conduct which is already criminal under other laws, while hate speech laws criminalize a category of speech. Hate speech laws exist in many countries. In the United States, hate crime laws have been upheld by both the Supreme Court and lower courts, especially in the case of 'fighting' words and other violent speech, but they are thought by some people to be in conflict with the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, but hate crimes are only regulated through threats of injury or death.Lucchese crime family
The Lucchese crime family (pronounced [lukˈkeːze]) is one of the "Five Families" that dominate organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia (or Cosa Nostra).
The family originated in the early 1920s with Gaetano Reina serving as boss up until his murder in 1930. It was taken over by Tommy Gagliano during the Castellammarese War, and led by him until his death in 1951. The family under Gagliano was peaceful and low key, concentrating their criminal activities in the Bronx, Manhattan and New Jersey. The next boss was Tommy Lucchese who served as Gagliano's underboss for over 20 years, who turned the family around to become one of the most powerful families to sit on the Commission. Lucchese teamed up with Gambino crime family boss Carlo Gambino to control organized crime in New York City. Lucchese had a stronghold on the garment industry in New York and took control of many crime rackets for his crime family. When Lucchese died of a brain tumor in 1967, Carmine Tramunti controlled the family for a brief time; he was arrested in 1973 for funding a major heroin network and died five years later. Anthony Corallo then gained control of the family. Corallo was very secretive and soon became one of the most powerful members of the Commission. He was arrested and convicted in the famous Commission case of 1986.
For most of its history, the Lucchese family was reckoned as one of the most peaceful crime families in the nation. However, that changed when Corallo named Victor Amuso his successor shortly before going to prison. Amuso later promoted one of his longtime partners, Anthony Casso to underboss. Starting with the Windows Case in 1986, they instituted one of the bloodiest reigns in Mafia history, ordering virtually anyone who crossed them to be murdered. It is estimated that Casso himself has murdered between 30-40 people and has ordered over 100 murders during his reign; he was sentenced to 455 years in prison. Casso also had authority over NYPD detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa: both carried out at least 8 murders for him. Amuso was arrested in 1991 and sentenced to life in prison. Several Lucchese wiseguys, fearing for their lives, turned informant. The highest-profile of these was acting boss Alphonse D'Arco, who became the first boss of a New York crime family to testify against the mob. This led to the arrest of the entire Lucchese family hierarchy, with Casso also becoming an informant. Testimony from these informants nearly destroyed the family, with as many as half of its members incarcerated. Amuso has continued to rule the family from prison.Organized crime
Organized crime is a category of transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals who intend to engage in illegal activity, most commonly for profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist groups, are politically motivated. Sometimes criminal organizations force people to do business with them, such as when a gang extorts money from shopkeepers for "protection". Gangs may become disciplined enough to be considered organized. A criminal organization or gang can also be referred to as a mafia, mob, or crime syndicate; the network, subculture and community of criminals may be referred to as the underworld. European sociologists (e.g. Diego Gambetta) define the mafia as a type of organized crime group that specializes in the supply of extra-legal protection and quasi law enforcement. Gambetta's classic work on the Sicilian Mafia generates an economic study of the mafia, which exerts great influence on studies of the Russian Mafia, the Chinese Mafia, Hong Kong Triads and the Japanese Yakuza.Other organizations—including states, churches, militaries, police forces, and corporations—may sometimes use organized-crime methods to conduct their activities, but their powers derive from their status as formal social institutions. There is a tendency to distinguish organized crime from other forms of crime, such as white-collar crime, financial crimes, political crimes, war crime, state crimes, and treason. This distinction is not always apparent and academics continue to debate the matter. For example, in failed states that can no longer perform basic functions such as education, security, or governance (usually due to fractious violence or to extreme poverty), organized crime, governance and war sometimes complement each other. The term "Oligarchy" has been used to describe democratic countries whose political, social and economic institutions come under the control of a few families and business oligarchs.In the United States, the Organized Crime Control Act (1970) defines organized crime as "[t]he unlawful activities of [...] a highly organized, disciplined association [...]". Criminal activity as a structured process is referred to as racketeering. In the UK, police estimate that organized crime involves up to 38,000 people operating in 6,000 various groups. Due to the escalating violence of Mexico's drug war, a report issued by the United States Department of Justice characterizes the Mexican drug cartels as the "greatest organized crime threat to the United States".Racket (crime)
A racket is an organized criminal act, usually in which the criminal act is a form of business or a way to earn illegal money regularly or briefly but repeatedly. A racket is often a repeated or continuous criminal operation.
Originally and often still specifically, a racket was a criminal act in which the perpetrator or perpetrators fraudulently offer a service to solve a nonexistent problem, a service that will not be put into effect, or a service that would not exist without the racket. Conducting a racket is racketeering. Particularly, the potential problem may be caused by the same party that offers to solve it, but that fact may be concealed, with the specific intent to engender continual patronage for this party.
The most common example of a racket is the "protection racket", which promises to protect the target business or person from dangerous individuals in the neighborhood and then either collects the money or causes damage to the business until the owner pays. The racket exists as both the problem and its solution, and it is used as a method of extortion.
However, the term "racket" has expanded in definition and may be used less strictly to refer to any illegal organized crime operation, including those that do not necessarily involve fraudulent practices. For example, "racket" may be used to refer to the "numbers racket" or the "drug racket", neither of which generally or explicitly involve fraud or deception with regard to the intended clientele.
Racketeering is most often associated with organized crime, and the term was coined by the Employers' Association of Chicago in June 1927 in a statement about the influence of organized crime in the Teamsters union.Russian mafia
Russian organized crime or Russian mafia (Russian: рoссийская мафия, translit. rossiyskaya mafiya, Russian: русская мафия, translit. russkaya mafiya), sometimes referred to as Bratva (Russian: братва: "brotherhood"), is a collective of various organized crime elements originating in the former Soviet Union. The acronym OPG is Organized Criminal (Prestupnaya in Russian) Group, used to refer to any of the Russian mafia groups, sometimes modified with a specific name, e.g. Orekhovskaya OPG. Sometimes the acronym is translated and OCG is used.
Organized crime in Russia began in the imperial period of the Tsars, but it was not until the Soviet era that vory v zakone ("thieves-in-law") emerged as leaders of prison groups in forced labor camps, and their honor code became more defined. With the end of World War II, the death of Joseph Stalin, and the fall of the Soviet Union, more gangs emerged in a flourishing black market, exploiting the unstable governments of the former Republics, and at its highest point, even controlling as much as two-thirds of the Russian economy. Louis Freeh, former director of the FBI, said that the Russian mafia posed the greatest threat to U.S. national security in the mid-1990s.In modern times, there are as many as 6,000 different groups, with more than 200 of them having a global reach. Criminals of these various groups are either former prison members, corrupt officials and business leaders, people with ethnic ties, or people from the same region with shared criminal experiences and leaders. In December 2009, Timur Lakhonin, the head of the Russian National Central Bureau of Interpol, stated "Certainly, there is crime involving our former compatriots abroad, but there is no data suggesting that an organized structure of criminal groups comprising former Russians exists abroad", while in August 2010, Alain Bauer, a French criminologist, said that it "is one of the best structured criminal organizations in Europe, with a quasi-military operation."The Departed
The Departed is a 2006 American crime thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by William Monahan. It is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Wahlberg, with Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson and Alec Baldwin in supporting roles.
The film takes place in Boston. Irish Mob boss Francis "Frank" Costello (Nicholson) plants Colin Sullivan (Damon) as a mole within the Massachusetts State Police; simultaneously, the police assign undercover state trooper William "Billy" Costigan (DiCaprio) to infiltrate Costello's crew. When both sides realize the situation, Sullivan and Costigan each attempt to discover the other's identity before they are found out. The two characters are loosely based on famous gangster Whitey Bulger and corrupt FBI agent John Connolly.The Departed was a critical and commercial success and won several awards, including four Oscars at the 79th Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing; Mark Wahlberg was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor.The Godfather
The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Albert S. Ruddy, based on Mario Puzo's best-selling novel of the same name. It stars Marlon Brando and Al Pacino as the leaders of a fictional New York crime family. The story, spanning 1945 to 1955, chronicles the family under the patriarch Vito Corleone (Brando), focusing on the transformation of Michael Corleone (Pacino) from reluctant family outsider to ruthless mafia boss.
Paramount Pictures obtained the rights to the novel for the price of $80,000, before it gained popularity. Studio executives had trouble finding a director; their first few candidates turned down the position. They and Coppola disagreed over who would play several characters, in particular, Vito and Michael. Filming took place on location, primarily around New York and in Sicily, and was completed ahead of schedule. The musical score was principally composed by Nino Rota, with additional pieces by Carmine Coppola.
The film was the highest-grossing film of 1972 and was for a time the highest-grossing film ever made. It won the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Brando) and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Puzo and Coppola). Its seven other Oscar nominations included Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall (Best Supporting Actor), and Coppola for Best Director.
The Godfather is widely regarded as one of the greatest films in world cinema and one of the most influential, especially in the gangster genre. It was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1990, being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and is ranked the second-greatest film in American cinema (behind Citizen Kane) by the American Film Institute. It was followed by sequels The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Godfather Part III (1990).War crime
A war crime is an act that constitutes a serious violation of the laws of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility. Examples of war crimes include intentionally killing civilians or prisoners, torturing, destroying civilian property, taking hostages, performing a perfidy, raping, using child soldiers, pillaging, declaring that no quarter will be given, and seriously violating the principles of distinction and proportionality, such as strategic bombing of civilian populations.The concept of war crimes emerged at the turn of the twentieth century when the body of customary international law applicable to warfare between sovereign states was codified. Such codification occurred at the national level, such as with the publication of the Lieber Code in the United States, and at the international level with the adoption of the treaties during the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. Moreover, trials in national courts during this period further helped clarify the law. Following the end of World War II, major developments in the law occurred. Numerous trials of Axis war criminals established the Nuremberg principles, such as notion that war crimes constituted crimes defined by international law. Additionally, the Geneva Conventions in 1949 defined new war crimes and established that states could exercise universal jurisdiction over such crimes. In the late 20th century and early 21st century, following the creation of several international courts, additional categories of war crimes applicable to armed conflicts other than those between states, such as civil wars, were defined.Yakuza
Yakuza (Japanese: ヤクザ, IPA: [jaꜜkɯza]), also known as gokudō (極道, "the extreme path", IPA: [gokɯꜜdoː]), are members of transnational organized crime syndicates originating in Japan. The Japanese police, and media by request of the police, call them bōryokudan (暴力団, "violent groups", IPA: [boːɾʲokɯꜜdaɴ]), while the Yakuza call themselves ninkyō dantai (任侠団体/仁侠団体, "chivalrous organizations", IPA: [ɲiŋkʲoː dantai]). The Western equivalent for the term Yakuza is gangster, meaning an individual involved in a Mafia-like criminal organization. The Yakuza are notorious for their strict codes of conduct, their organized fiefdom nature, and several unconventional ritual practices such as "Yubitsume". Yakuza members are often described as males with heavily tattooed bodies and slicked hair, yet this group is still regarded as being among "the most sophisticated and wealthiest criminal organizations."At their height, the Yakuza maintained a large presence in the Japanese media and operated internationally. In fact, in the early 1960s police estimated that the Yakuza had a membership of 184,100. However, in recent years their numbers have dwindled with the latest figure from the National Police Agency estimating that as of 2016 the number of members in all 22 designated gangs was 39,100. This decline is often attributed to changing market opportunities and several legal and social developments in Japan which discourage the growth of Yakuza membership. Yet, despite their dwindling numbers, the Yakuza still regularly engage in an array of criminal activities, and many Japanese citizens remain fearful of the threat these individuals pose to their safety. However, there remains no strict prohibition on Yakuza membership in Japan today, although much legislation has been passed by the Japanese government aimed at increasing liability for criminal activities and impeding revenue.
Articles Related to Crime