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".
Patron-client networks are defined by fluid interactions. They produce crime groups that operate as smaller units within the overall network, and as such tend towards valuing significant others, familiarity of social and economic environments, or tradition. These networks are usually composed of:
Bureaucratic/corporate organized crime groups are defined by the general rigidity of their internal structures. They focus more on how the operations works, succeeds, sustains itself or avoids retribution, they are generally typified by:
However, this model of operation has some flaws:
While bureaucratic operations emphasize business processes and strongly authoritarian hierarchies, these are based on enforcing power relationships rather than an overlying aim of protectionism, sustainability or growth.
An estimate on youth street gangs nationwide provided by Hannigan, et al., marked an increase of 35% between 2002 and 2010. A distinctive gang culture underpins many, but not all, organized groups; this may develop through recruiting strategies, social learning processes in the corrective system experienced by youth, family or peer involvement in crime, and the coercive actions of criminal authority figures. The term “street gang” is commonly used interchangeably with “youth gang,” referring to neighborhood or street-based youth groups that meet “gang” criteria. Miller (1992) defines a street gang as “a self-formed association of peers, united by mutual interests, with identifiable leadership and internal organization, who act collectively or as individuals to achieve specific purposes, including the conduct of illegal activity and control of a particular territory, facility, or enterprise." Some reasons youth join gangs include to feel accepted, attain status, and increase their self-esteem. A sense of unity brings together many of the youth gangs that lack the family aspect at home.
"Zones of transition" are deteriorating neighborhoods with shifting populations. In such areas, conflict between groups, fighting, "turf wars", and theft promote solidarity and cohesion. Cohen (1955): working class teenagers joined gangs due to frustration of inability to achieve status and goals of the middle class; Cloward and Ohlin (1960): blocked opportunity, but unequal distribution of opportunities lead to creating different types of gangs (that is, some focused on robbery and property theft, some on fighting and conflict and some were retreatists focusing on drug taking); Spergel (1966) was one of the first criminologists to focus on evidence-based practice rather than intuition into gang life and culture. Participation in gang-related events during adolescence perpetuate a pattern of maltreatment on their own children years later. Klein (1971) like Spergel studied the effects on members of social workers’ interventions. More interventions actually lead to greater gang participation and solidarity and bonds between members. Downes and Rock (1988) on Parker’s analysis: strain theory applies, labeling theory (from experience with police and courts), control theory (involvement in trouble from early childhood and the eventual decision that the costs outweigh the benefits) and conflict theories. No ethnic group is more disposed to gang involvement than another, rather it is the status of being marginalized, alienated or rejected that makes some groups more vulnerable to gang formation, and this would also be accounted for in the effect of social exclusion, especially in terms of recruitment and retention. These may also be defined by age (typically youth) or peer group influences, and the permanence or consistency of their criminal activity. These groups also form their own symbolic identity or public representation which are recognizable by the community at large (include colors, symbols, patches, flags and tattoos).
Research has focused on whether the gangs have formal structures, clear hierarchies and leadership in comparison with adult groups, and whether they are rational in pursuit of their goals, though positions on structures, hierarchies and defined roles are conflicting. Some studied street gangs involved in drug dealing - finding that their structure and behavior had a degree of organizational rationality. Members saw themselves as organized criminals; gangs were formal-rational organizations, Strong organizational structures, well defined roles and rules that guided members’ behavior. Also a specified and regular means of income (i.e., drugs). Padilla (1992) agreed with the two above. However some have found these to be loose rather than well-defined and lacking persistent focus, there was relatively low cohesion, few shared goals and little organizational structure. Shared norms, value and loyalties were low, structures "chaotic", little role differentiation or clear distribution of labor. Similarly, the use of violence does not conform to the principles behind protection rackets, political intimidation and drug trafficking activities employed by those adult groups. In many cases gang members graduate from youth gangs to highly developed OC groups, with some already in contact with such syndicates and through this we see a greater propensity for imitation. Gangs and traditional criminal organizations cannot be universally linked (Decker, 1998), however there are clear benefits to both the adult and youth organization through their association. In terms of structure, no single crime group is archetypal, though in most cases there are well-defined patterns of vertical integration (where criminal groups attempt to control the supply and demand), as is the case in arms, sex and drug trafficking.
The entrepreneurial model looks at either the individual criminal or a smaller group of organized criminals, that capitalize off the more fluid 'group-association' of contemporary organized crime. This model conforms to social learning theory or differential association in that there are clear associations and interaction between criminals where knowledge may be shared, or values enforced, however, it is argued that rational choice is not represented in this. The choice to commit a certain act, or associate with other organized crime groups, may be seen as much more of an entrepreneurial decision - contributing to the continuation of a criminal enterprise, by maximizing those aspects that protect or support their own individual gain. In this context, the role of risk is also easily understandable, however it is debatable whether the underlying motivation should be seen as true entrepreneurship or entrepreneurship as a product of some social disadvantage.
The criminal organization, much in the same way as one would assess pleasure and pain, weighs such factors as legal, social and economic risk to determine potential profit and loss from certain criminal activities. This decision-making process rises from the entrepreneurial efforts of the group's members, their motivations and the environments in which they work. Opportunism is also a key factor – the organized criminal or criminal group is likely to frequently reorder the criminal associations they maintain, the types of crimes they perpetrate, and how they function in the public arena (recruitment, reputation, etc.) in order to ensure efficiency, capitalization and protection of their interests.
Culture and ethnicity provide an environment where trust and communication between criminals can be efficient and secure. This may ultimately lead to a competitive advantage for some groups; however, it is inaccurate to adopt this as the only determinant of classification in organized crime. This categorization includes the Sicilian Mafia, ’Ndrangheta, ethnic Chinese criminal groups, Japanese Yakuza (or Boryokudan), Colombian drug trafficking groups, Nigerian organized crime groups, Corsican mafia, Korean criminal groups and Jamaican posses. From this perspective, organized crime is not a modern phenomenon - the construction of 17th and 18th century crime gangs fulfill all the present day criteria of criminal organizations (in opposition to the Alien Conspiracy Theory). These roamed the rural borderlands of central Europe embarking on many of the same illegal activities associated with today’s crime organizations, with the exception of money laundering. When the French revolution created strong nation states, the criminal gangs moved to other poorly controlled regions like the Balkans and Southern Italy, where the seeds were sown for the Sicilian Mafia - the lynchpin of organized crime in the New World.
|National||Historical or cultural basis||Family or hierarchy||Secrecy/bonds. Links to insurgents||Local corruption/influence. Fearful community.|
|Transnational||Politically and economically unstable||Vertical integration||Legitimate cover||Stable supply of illicit goods. High-level corruption.|
|Transnational/transactional||Any||Flexible. Small size.||Violent. Opportunistic. Risk taking||Unstable supply of range of illicit goods. Exploits young local offenders.|
|Entrepreneurial/transactional||Developed/high technology regions||Individuals or pairs.||Operating through legitimate enterprise||Provision of illicit services, e.g., money laundering, fraud, criminal networks.|
Organized crime groups provide a range of illegal services and goods. Organized crime often victimizes businesses through the use of extortion or theft and fraud activities like hijacking cargo trucks, robbing goods, committing bankruptcy fraud (also known as "bust-out"), insurance fraud or stock fraud (inside trading). Organized crime groups also victimize individuals by car theft (either for dismantling at "chop shops" or for export), art theft, bank robbery, burglary, jewelry and gems theft and heists, shoplifting, computer hacking, credit card fraud, economic espionage, embezzlement, identity theft, and securities fraud ("pump and dump" scam). Some organized crime groups defraud national, state, or local governments by bid rigging public projects, counterfeiting money, smuggling or manufacturing untaxed alcohol (bootlegging) or cigarettes (buttlegging), and providing immigrant workers to avoid taxes.
Organized crime groups seek out corrupt public officials in executive, law enforcement, and judicial roles so that their activities can avoid, or at least receive early warnings about, investigation and prosecution.
Activities of organized crime include loansharking of money at very high interest rates, assassination, blackmailing, bombings, bookmaking and illegal gambling, confidence tricks, copyright infringement, counterfeiting of intellectual property, fencing, kidnapping, prostitution, smuggling, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, oil smuggling, antiquities smuggling, organ trafficking, contract killing, identity document forgery, money laundering, bribery, seduction, electoral fraud, insurance fraud, point shaving, price fixing, illegal taxicab operation, illegal dumping of toxic waste, illegal trading of nuclear materials, military equipment smuggling, nuclear weapons smuggling, passport fraud, providing illegal immigration and cheap labor, people smuggling, trading in endangered species, and trafficking in human beings. Organized crime groups also do a range of business and labor racketeering activities, such as skimming casinos, insider trading, setting up monopolies in industries such as garbage collecting, construction and cement pouring, bid rigging, getting "no-show" and "no-work" jobs, political corruption and bullying.
The commission of violent crime may form part of a criminal organization's 'tools' used to achieve criminogenic goals (for example, its threatening, authoritative, coercive, terror-inducing, or rebellious role), due to psychosocial factors (cultural conflict, aggression, rebellion against authority, access to illicit substances, counter-cultural dynamic), or may, in and of itself, be crime rationally chosen by individual criminals and the groups they form. Assaults are used for coercive measures, to "rough up" debtors, competition or recruits, in the commission of robberies, in connection to other property offenses, and as an expression of counter-cultural authority; violence is normalized within criminal organizations (in direct opposition to mainstream society) and the locations they control. Whilst the intensity of violence is dependent on the types of crime the organization is involved in (as well as their organizational structure or cultural tradition) aggressive acts range on a spectrum from low-grade physical assaults to murder. Bodily harm and grievous bodily harm, within the context of organized crime, must be understood as indicators of intense social and cultural conflict, motivations contrary to the security of the public, and other psychosocial factors.
Murder has evolved from the honor and vengeance killings of the Yakuza or Sicilian mafia which placed large physical and symbolic importance on the act of murder, its purposes and consequences, to a much less discriminate form of expressing power, enforcing criminal authority, achieving retribution or eliminating competition. The role of the hit man has been generally consistent throughout the history of organized crime, whether that be due to the efficiency or expediency of hiring a professional assassin or the need to distance oneself from the commission of murderous acts (making it harder to prove liability). This may include the assassination of notable figures (public, private or criminal), once again dependent on authority, retribution or competition. Revenge killings, armed robberies, violent disputes over controlled territories and offenses against members of the public must also be considered when looking at the dynamic between different criminal organizations and their (at times) conflicting needs.
In addition to what is considered traditional organized crime involving direct crimes of fraud swindles, scams, racketeering and other Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) predicate acts motivated for the accumulation of monetary gain, there is also non-traditional organized crime which is engaged in for political or ideological gain or acceptance. Such crime groups are often labelled terrorist groups.
There is no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition of terrorism. Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for a religious, political or ideological goal, deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (e.g., neutral military personnel or civilians), and are committed by non-government agencies. Some definitions also include acts of unlawful violence and war, especially crimes against humanity (see the Nuremberg Trials), Allied authorities deeming the German Nazi Party, its paramilitary and police organizations, and numerous associations subsidiary to the Nazi Party "criminal organizations". The use of similar tactics by criminal organizations for protection rackets or to enforce a code of silence is usually not labeled terrorism though these same actions may be labeled terrorism when done by a politically motivated group.
Notable groups include Al-Qaeda, Animal Liberation Front, Army of God, Black Liberation Army, The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord, Earth Liberation Front, Irish Republican Army, Kurdistan Workers' Party, Lashkar e Toiba, May 19th Communist Organization, The Order, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Symbionese Liberation Army, Taliban, United Freedom Front and Weather Underground..
Organized crime groups generate large amounts of money by activities such as drug trafficking, arms smuggling and financial crime. This is of little use to them unless they can disguise it and convert it into funds that are available for investment into legitimate enterprise. The methods they use for converting its ‘dirty’ money into ‘clean’ assets encourages corruption. Organized crime groups need to hide the money’s illegal origin. It allows for the expansion of OC groups, as the ‘laundry’ or ‘wash cycle’ operates to cover the money trail and convert proceeds of crime into usable assets. Money laundering is bad for international and domestic trade, banking reputations and for effective governments and rule of law. Accurate figures for the amounts of criminal proceeds laundered are almost impossible to calculate, and the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), an intergovernmental body set up to combat money laundering, has stated that "overall it is absolutely impossible to produce a reliable estimate of the amount of money laundered and therefore the FATF does not publish any figures in this regard". However, in the US estimated figures of money laundering have been put at between $200 – $600 billion per year throughout the 1990s (US Congress Office 1995; Robinson 1996), and in 2002 this was estimated between $500 billion to $1 trillion per year (UN 2002). This would make organized crime the third largest business in world after foreign exchange and oil (Robinson 1996). The rapid growth of money laundering is due to:
Money laundering is a three-stage process:
Means of money laundering:
In 2007, the OECD reported the scope of counterfeit products to include food, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, electrical components, tobacco and even household cleaning products in addition to the usual films, music, literature, games and other electrical appliances, software and fashion. A number of qualitative changes in the trade of counterfeit products:
The economic effects of organized crime have been approached from a number of both theoretical and empirical positions, however the nature of such activity allows for misrepresentation. The level of taxation taken by a nation-state, rates of unemployment, mean household incomes and level of satisfaction with government and other economic factors all contribute to the likelihood of criminals to participate in tax evasion. As most organized crime is perpetrated in the liminal state between legitimate and illegitimate markets, these economic factors must adjusted to ensure the optimal amount of taxation without promoting the practice of tax evasion. As with any other crime, technological advancements have made the commission of tax evasion easier, faster and more globalized. The ability for organized criminals to operate fraudulent financial accounts, utilize illicit offshore bank accounts, access tax havens or tax shelters, and operating goods smuggling syndicates to evade importation taxes help ensure financial sustainability, security from law enforcement, general anonymity and the continuation of their operations.
Identity theft is a form of fraud or cheating of another person's identity in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person's identity, typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name. Victims of identity theft (those whose identity has been assumed by the identity thief) can suffer adverse consequences if held accountable for the perpetrator's actions, as can organizations and individuals who are defrauded by the identity thief, and to that extent are also victims. Internet fraud refers to the actual use of Internet services to present fraudulent solicitations to prospective victims, to conduct fraudulent transactions, or to transmit the proceeds of fraud to financial institutions or to others connected with the scheme. In the context of organized crime, both may serve as means through which other criminal activity may be successfully perpetrated or as the primary goal themselves. Email fraud, advance-fee fraud, romance scams, employment scams, and other phishing scams are the most common and most widely used forms of identity theft, though with the advent of social networking fake websites, accounts and other fraudulent or deceitful activity has become commonplace.
Copyright infringement is the unauthorized or prohibited use of works under copyright, infringing the copyright holder's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works. Whilst almost universally considered under civil procedure, the impact and intent of organized criminal operations in this area of crime has been the subject of much debate. Article 61 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) requires that signatory countries establish criminal procedures and penalties in cases of willful trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy on a commercial scale. More recently copyright holders have demanded that states provide criminal sanctions for all types of copyright infringement. Organized criminal groups capitalize on consumer complicity, advancements in security and anonymity technology, emerging markets and new methods of product transmission, and the consistent nature of these provides a stable financial basis for other areas of organized crime.
Cyberwarfare refers to politically motivated hacking to conduct sabotage and espionage. It is a form of information warfare sometimes seen as analogous to conventional warfare although this analogy is controversial for both its accuracy and its political motivation. It has been defined as activities by a nation-state to penetrate another nation's computers or networks with the intention of causing civil damage or disruption. Moreover, it acts as the "fifth domain of warfare," and William J. Lynn, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, states that "as a doctrinal matter, the Pentagon has formally recognized cyberspace as a new domain in warfare . . . [which] has become just as critical to military operations as land, sea, air, and space." Cyber espionage is the practice of obtaining confidential, sensitive, proprietary or classified information from individuals, competitors, groups, or governments using illegal exploitation methods on internet, networks, software and/or computers. There is also a clear military, political, or economic motivation. Unsecured information may be intercepted and modified, making espionage possible internationally. The recently established Cyber Command is currently debating whether such activities as commercial espionage or theft of intellectual property are criminal activities or actual "breaches of national security." Furthermore, military activities that use computers and satellites for coordination are at risk of equipment disruption. Orders and communications can be intercepted or replaced. Power, water, fuel, communications, and transportation infrastructure all may be vulnerable to sabotage. According to Clarke, the civilian realm is also at risk, noting that the security breaches have already gone beyond stolen credit card numbers, and that potential targets can also include the electric power grid, trains, or the stock market.
The term "computer virus" may be used as an overarching phrase to include all types of true viruses, malware, including computer worms, Trojan horses, most rootkits, spyware, dishonest adware and other malicious and unwanted software (though all are technically unique), and proves to be quite financially lucrative for criminal organizations, offering greater opportunities for fraud and extortion whilst increasing security, secrecy and anonymity. Worms may be utilized by organized crime groups to exploit security vulnerabilities (duplicating itself automatically across other computers a given network), while a Trojan horse is a program that appears harmless but hides malicious functions (such as retrieval of stored confidential data, corruption of information, or interception of transmissions). Worms and Trojan horses, like viruses, may harm a computer system's data or performance. Applying the Internet model of organized crime, the proliferation of computer viruses and other malicious software promotes a sense of detachment between the perpetrator (whether that be the criminal organization or another individual) and the victim; this may help to explain vast increases in cyber-crime such as these for the purpose of ideological crime or terrorism. In mid July 2010, security experts discovered a malicious software program that had infiltrated factory computers and had spread to plants around the world. It is considered "the first attack on critical industrial infrastructure that sits at the foundation of modern economies," notes the New York Times.
Corporate crime refers to crimes committed either by a corporation (i.e., a business entity having a separate legal personality from the natural persons that manage its activities), or by individuals that may be identified with a corporation or other business entity (see vicarious liability and corporate liability). Note that some forms of corporate corruption may not actually be criminal if they are not specifically illegal under a given system of laws. For example, some jurisdictions allow insider trading.
Labor racketeering has developed since the 1930s, affecting national and international construction, mining, energy production and transportation sectors immensely. Activity has focused on the importation of cheap or unfree labor, involvement with union and public officials (political corruption), and counterfeiting.
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties. Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. While corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, it is not restricted to these activities. The activities that constitute illegal corruption differ depending on the country or jurisdiction. For instance, certain political funding practices that are legal in one place may be illegal in another. In some cases, government officials have broad or poorly defined powers, which make it difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal actions. Worldwide, bribery alone is estimated to involve over 1 trillion US dollars annually. A state of unrestrained political corruption is known as a kleptocracy, literally meaning "rule by thieves".
Heroin: Source countries / production: three major regions known as the Golden Triangle (Burma, Laos, Thailand), Golden Crescent (Afghanistan) and Central and South America. There are suggestions that due to the continuing decline in opium production in South East Asia, traffickers may begin to look to Afghanistan as a source of heroin."
Human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is a major cause of contemporary sexual slavery and is primarily for prostituting women and children into sex industries. Sexual slavery encompasses most, if not all, forms of forced prostitution. The terms "forced prostitution" or "enforced prostitution" appear in international and humanitarian conventions but have been insufficiently understood and inconsistently applied. "Forced prostitution" generally refers to conditions of control over a person who is coerced by another to engage in sexual activity. Official numbers of individuals in sexual slavery worldwide vary. In 2001 International Organization for Migration estimated 400,000, the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimated 700,000 and UNICEF estimated 1.75 million. The most common destinations for victims of human trafficking are Thailand, Japan, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the United States, according to a report by UNODC.
People smuggling is defined as "the facilitation, transportation, attempted transportation or illegal entry of a person or persons across an international border, in violation of one or more countries laws, either clandestinely or through deception, such as the use of fraudulent documents". The term is understood as and often used interchangeably with migrant smuggling, which is defined by the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime as "...the procurement, in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit, of the illegal entry of a person into a state party of which the person is not a national". This practice has increased over the past few decades and today now accounts for a significant portion of illegal immigration in countries around the world. People smuggling generally takes place with the consent of the person or persons being smuggled, and common reasons for individuals seeking to be smuggled include employment and economic opportunity, personal and/or familial betterment, and escape from persecution or conflict.
The number of slaves today remains as high as 12 million to 27 million. This is probably the smallest proportion of slaves to the rest of the world's population in history. Most are debt slaves, largely in South Asia, who are under debt bondage incurred by lenders, sometimes even for generations. It is the fastest growing criminal industry and is predicted to eventually outgrow drug trafficking.
Today, crime is sometimes thought of as an urban phenomenon, but for most of human history it was the rural interfaces that encountered the majority of crimes (bearing in mind the fact that for most of human history, rural areas were the vast majority of inhabited places). For the most part, within a village, members kept crime at very low rates; however, outsiders such as pirates, highwaymen, and bandits attacked trade routes and roads, at times severely disrupting commerce, raising costs, insurance rates and prices to the consumer. According to criminologist Paul Lunde, "Piracy and banditry were to the preindustrial world what organized crime is to modern society."
If we take a global rather than strictly domestic view, it becomes evident even crime of the organized kind has a long if not necessarily noble heritage. The word 'thug' dates to early 13th-century India, when Thugs, or gangs of criminals, roamed from town to town, looting and pillaging. Smuggling and drug-trafficking rings are as old as the hills in Asia and Africa, and extant criminal organizations in Italy and Japan trace their histories back several centuries...
As Lunde states, "Barbarian conquerors, whether Vandals, Goths, the Norse, Turks or Mongols are not normally thought of as organized crime groups, yet they share many features associated with thriving criminal organizations. They were for the most part non-ideological, predominantly ethnically based, used violence and intimidation, and adhered to their own codes of law." Terrorism is linked to organized crime, but has political aims rather than solely financial ones, so there is overlap but separation between terrorism and organized crime.
A fence, or receiver, (銷贓者), was a merchant who bought and sold stolen goods. Fences were part of the extensive network of accomplices in the criminal underground of Ming and Qing China. Their occupation entailed criminal activity, but as fences often acted as liaisons between the more respectable community to the underground criminals, they were seen as living a “precarious existence on the fringes of respectable society”.
A fence worked alongside bandits, but in a different line of work. The network of criminal accomplices that was often acquired was essential to ensuring both the safety and the success of fences.
The path into the occupation of a fence stemmed, in a large degree, from necessity. As most fences came from the ranks of poorer people, they often took whatever work they could - both legal and illegal.
Like most bandits operated within their own lacommunity, fences also worked within their own town or village. For example, in some satellite areas of the capital, military troops lived within or close to the commoner population and they had the opportunity to hold illegal trades with commoners.
In areas like Baoding and Hejian, local peasants and community members not only purchased military livestock such as horses and cattle, but also helped to hide the “stolen livestock from military allured by the profits”. Local peasants and community members became fences and they hid criminal activities from officials in exchange of products or money from these soldiers.
Most fences were not individuals who only bought and sold stolen goods to make a living. The majority of fences had other occupations within the "polite" society and held a variety of official occupations. These occupations included laborers, coolies, and peddlers. Such individuals often encountered criminals in markets in their line of work, and, recognizing a potential avenue for an extra source of income, formed acquaintances and temporary associations for mutual aid and protection with criminals. In one example, an owner of a teahouse overheard the conversation between Deng Yawen, a criminal, and others planning a robbery and he offered to help to sell the loot for an exchange of spoils.
At times, the robbers themselves filled the role of fences, selling to people they met on the road. This may actually have been preferable for robbers, in certain circumstances, because they would not have to pay the fence a portion of the spoils.
Butchers were also prime receivers for stolen animals because of the simple fact that owners could no longer recognize their livestock once butchers slaughtered them. Animals were very valuable commodities within Ming China, and a robber could potentially sustain a living from stealing livestock and selling them to butcher-fences.
Although the vast majority of the time, fences worked with physical stolen property, fences who also worked as itinerant barbers also sold information as a good. Itinerant barbers often amassed important sources of information and news as they traveled, and sold significant pieces of information, often to criminals in search of places to hide or individuals to rob. In this way, itinerant barbers also served the role as a keeper of information that could be sold to both members of the criminal underground, as well as powerful clients in performing the function of a spy.
He or she not only sold items such as jewelry and clothing but was also involved in human trafficking hostages that banditires kidnapped. Women and children were the easiest and among the most common “objects” the fences sold. Most of the female hostages were sold to fences and then sold as prostitutes, wives, or concubiences. One example of human trafficking can be seen from Chen Akuei’s gang who abducted a servant girl and sold her to Lin Baimao, who in turn sold her to a thirty parts of silver as wives. In contrast to women, who required beauty to sell for a high price, children were sold regardless of their physical appearance or family background. Children were often sold as servants or entertainers, while young girls were often sold as prostitutes.
Like merchants of honest goods, one of the most significant tools of a fence was their network of connections. As they were the middlemen between robbers and clients, fences needed to form and maintain connections in both the “polite” society, as well as among criminals. However, there were a few exceptions in which members of the so called “well-respected” society become receivers and harbourers. They not only help bandits to sell the stolen goods but also acted as agents of bandits to collect protection money from local merchants and residents. These "part-time" fences with high social status used their connection with bandits to help themselves gain social capital as well as wealth.
It was extremely important to their occupation that fences maintained a positive relationship with their customers, especially their richer gentry clients. When some members of the local elites joined the ranks of fences, they not only protect bandits to protect their business interests, they actively took down any potential threats to their illegal profiting, even government officials. In the Zhejiang Province, the local elites not only got the provincial commissioner, Zhu Wan, dismissed from his office but also eventually “[drove] him to suicide”. This was possible because fences often had legal means of making a living, as well as illegal activities and could threaten to turn in bandits into the authorities.
It was also essential for them to maintain a relationship with bandits. However, it was just as true that bandits needed fences to make a living. As a result, fences often held dominance in their relationship with bandits. Taking advantage of their dominance in their relationships with bandits, fences also cheated bandits by manipulating the prices they paid bandits for the stolen property.
Aside from simply buying and selling stolen goods, fences often played additional roles in the criminal underground of early China. Because of the high floating population in public places such as inns and teahouses, they often became ideal places for banditries and gangs to gather to exchange information and plan for their next crime. Harborers, people who provided safehouses for criminals, often played the role of receiving stolen goods from their harbored criminals to sell to other customers. Safehouses included inns, teahouses, brothels, opium dens, as well as gambling parlors, and employees or owners of such institutions often functioned as harborers, as well as fences. These safehouses locate in places where there are high floating population and people from all kinds of social backgrounds.
Brothels themselves helped these bandits to hide and sell stolen goods because of the special Ming Law that exempted brothels from being held responsible “for the criminal actions of their clients.” Even though government requires owners of these places to report any suspicious activities, lack of enforcement from government itself and some of the owners being fences for the bandits make an ideal safehouse for bandits and gangs.
Pawnshops were also often affiliated with fencing stolen goods. The owners or employees of such shops often paid cash for stolen goods at a price a great deal below market value to bandits, that were often desperate for money, and resold the goods to earn a profit.
Two different Ming Laws, the Da Ming Lü 大明律 and the Da Gao 大诰, drafted by the Hongwu Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, sentenced fences with different penalties based on the categories and prices of the products that were stolen.
In coastal regions, illegal trading with foreigners, as well as smuggling became a huge concern for the government during the mid to late Ming era. In order to prohibit this crime, the government passed a law in which illegal smugglers who traded with foreigners without the consent of the government would be punished with exile to the border for military service.
In areas where military troops were stationed, stealing and selling military property would result in a more severe punishment. In the Jiaqing time, a case was recorded of stealing and selling military horses. The empire himself gave direction that the thieves who stole the horses and the people who helped to sell the horses would be put on cangue and sent to labor in a border military camp.
In the salt mines, the penalty for workers who stole salt and people who sold the stolen salt was the most severe. Consider salt is a very valuable property in Ming China, anyone who was arrested and found guilty of stealing and selling government salt was put to death.
During the Victorian era, criminals and gangs started to form organizations which would be collectively become London's criminal underworld. Criminal societies in the underworld started to develop their own ranks and groups which were sometimes called families, and were often made up of lower-classes and operated on pick-pocketry, prostitution, forgery and counterfeiting, commercial burglary and even money-laundering schemes. Unique also were the use of slangs and argots used by Victorian criminal societies to distinguish each other. One of the most infamous crime bosses in the Victorian underworld was Adam Worth, who was nicknamed "the Napoleon of the criminal world" or "the Napoleon of Crime" and became the inspiration behind the popular character of Professor Moriarty.
Organized crime in the United States first came to prominence in the Old West and historians such as Brian J. Robb and Erin H. Turner traced the first organized crime syndicates to the Coschise Cowboy Gang and the Wild Bunch. The Cochise Cowboys, though loosely organized, were unique for their criminal operations in the Mexican border, in which they would steal and sell cattle as well smuggled contraband goods in between the countries.
Donald Cressey’s Cosa Nostra model studied Mafia families exclusively and this limits his broader findings. Structures are formal and rational with allocated tasks, limits on entrance, and influence the rules established for organizational maintenance and sustainability. In this context there is a difference between organized and professional crime; there is well-defined hierarchy of roles for leaders and members, underlying rules and specific goals that determine their behavior, and these are formed as a social system, one that was rationally designed to maximize profits and to provide forbidden goods. Albini saw organized criminal behavior as consisting of networks of patrons and clients, rather than rational hierarchies or secret societies.
The networks are characterized by a loose system of power relations. Each participant is interested in furthering his own welfare. Criminal entrepreneurs are the patrons and they exchange information with their clients in order to obtain their support. Clients include members of gangs, local and national politicians, government officials and people engaged in legitimate business. People in the network may not directly be part of the core criminal organization. Furthering the approach of both Cressey and Albini, Ianni and Ianni studied Italian-American crime syndicates in New York and other cities.
Kinship is seen as the basis of organized crime rather than the structures Cressey had identified; this includes fictive godparental and affinitive ties as well as those based on blood relations, and it is the impersonal actions, not the status or affiliations of their members, that define the group. Rules of conduct and behavioral aspects of power and networks and roles include the following:
Strong family ties are derived from the traditions of southern Italy, where family rather than the church or state is the basis of social order and morality.
One of the most important trends to emerge in criminological thinking about OC in recent years is the suggestion that it is not, in a formal sense, "organized" at all. Evidence includes lack of centralized control, absence of formal lines of communication, fragmented organizational structure. It is distinctively disorganized. For example, Seattle's crime network in the 1970s and 80s consisted of groups of businessmen, politicians and of law enforcement officers. They all had links to a national network via Meyer Lansky, who was powerful, but there was no evidence that Lansky or anyone else exercised centralized control over them.
While some crime involved well-known criminal hierarchies in the city, criminal activity was not subject to central management by these hierarchies nor by other controlling groups, nor were activities limited to a finite number of objectives. The networks of criminals involved with the crimes did not exhibit organizational cohesion. Too much emphasis had been placed on the Mafia as controlling OC. The Mafia were certainly powerful but they "were part of a heterogeneous underworld, a network characterized by complex webs of relationships." OC groups were violent and aimed at making money but because of the lack of structure and fragmentation of objectives, they were "disorganized".
Further studies showed neither bureaucracy nor kinship groups are the primary structure of organized crime, rather they were in partnerships or a series of joint business ventures. Despite these conclusions, all researchers observed a degree of managerial activities among the groups they studied. All observed networks and a degree of persistence, and there may be utility in focusing on the identification of organizing roles of people and events rather than the group's structure. There may be three main approaches to understand the organizations in terms of their roles as social systems:
Organized crime groups may be a combination of all three.
International consensus on defining organized crime has become important since the 1970s due its increased prevalence and impact. e.g., UN in 1976 and EU 1998. OC is "...the large scale and complex criminal activity carried on by groups of persons, however loosely or tightly organized for the enrichment of those participating at the expense of the community and its members. It is frequently accomplished through ruthless disregard of any law, including offenses against the person and frequently in connection with political corruption." (UN) "A criminal organization shall mean a lasting, structured association of two or more persons, acting in concert with a view to committing crimes or other offenses which are punishable by deprivation of liberty or a detention order of a maximum of at least four years or a more serious penalty, whether such crimes or offenses are an end in themselves or a means of obtaining material benefits and, if necessary, of improperly influencing the operation of public authorities." (UE) Not all groups exhibit the same characteristics of structure. However, violence and corruption and the pursuit of multiple enterprises and continuity serve to form the essence of OC activity.
There are eleven characteristics from the European Commission and Europol pertinent to a working definition of organized crime. Six of those must be satisfied and the four in italics are mandatory. Summarized, they are:
with the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (the Palermo Convention) having a similar definition:
Others stress the importance of power, profit and perpetuity, defining organized criminal behavior as:
Definitions need to bring together its legal and social elements. OC has widespread social, political and economic effects. It uses violence and corruption to achieve its ends: "OC when group primarily focused on illegal profits systematically commit crimes that adversely affect society and are capable of successfully shielding their activities, in particular by being willing to use physical violence or eliminate individuals by way of corruption."
It is a mistake to use the term "OC" as though it denotes a clear and well-defined phenomenon. The evidence regarding OC "shows a less well-organized, very diversified landscape of organizing criminals…the economic activities of these organizing criminals can be better described from the viewpoint of 'crime enterprises' than from a conceptually unclear frameworks such as 'OC'." Many of the definitions emphasize the ‘group nature’ of OC, the ‘organization’ of its members, its use of violence or corruption to achieve its goals, and its extra-jurisdictional character….OC may appear in many forms at different times and in different places. Due to the variety of definitions, there is “evident danger” in asking “what is OC?” and expecting a simple answer.
Some espouse that all organized crime operates at an international level, though there is currently no international court capable of trying offenses resulting from such activities (the International Criminal Court’s remit extends only to dealing with people accused of offenses against humanity, e.g., genocide). If a network operates primarily from one jurisdiction and carries out its illicit operations there and in some other jurisdictions it is ‘international,' though it may be appropriate to use the term ‘transnational’ only to label the activities of a major crime group that is centered in no one jurisdiction but operating in many. The understanding of organized crime has therefore progressed to combined internationalization and an understanding of social conflict into one of power, control, efficiency risk and utility, all within the context of organizational theory. The accumulation of social, economic and political power have sustained themselves as a core concerns of all criminal organizations:
Contemporary organized crime may be very different from traditional Mafia style, particularly in terms of the distribution and centralization of power, authority structures and the concept of 'control' over one's territory and organization. There is a tendency away from centralization of power and reliance upon family ties towards a fragmentation of structures and informality of relationships in crime groups. Organized crime most typically flourishes when a central government and civil society is disorganized, weak, absent or untrusted.
This may occur in a society facing periods of political, economic or social turmoil or transition, such as a change of government or a period of rapid economic development, particularly if the society lacks strong and established institutions and the rule of law. The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe that saw the downfall of the Communist Bloc created a breeding ground for criminal organizations.
The newest growth sectors for organized crime are identity theft and online extortion. These activities are troubling because they discourage consumers from using the Internet for e-commerce. E-commerce was supposed to level the playing ground between small and large businesses, but the growth of online organized crime is leading to the opposite effect; large businesses are able to afford more bandwidth (to resist denial-of-service attacks) and superior security. Furthermore, organized crime using the Internet is much harder to trace down for the police (even though they increasingly deploy cybercops) since most police forces and law enforcement agencies operate within a local or national jurisdiction while the Internet makes it easier for criminal organizations to operate across such boundaries without detection.
In the past criminal organizations have naturally limited themselves by their need to expand, putting them in competition with each other. This competition, often leading to violence, uses valuable resources such as manpower (either killed or sent to prison), equipment and finances. In the United States, James "Whitey" Bulger, the Irish Mob boss of the Winter Hill Gang in Boston turned informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He used this position to eliminate competition and consolidate power within the city of Boston which led to the imprisonment of several senior organized crime figures including Gennaro Angiulo, underboss of the Patriarca crime family. Infighting sometimes occurs within an organization, such as the Castellamarese war of 1930–31 and the Boston Irish Mob Wars of the 1960s and 1970s.
Today criminal organizations are increasingly working together, realizing that it is better to work in cooperation rather than in competition with each other (once again, consolidating power). This has led to the rise of global criminal organizations such as Mara Salvatrucha, 18th Street gang, and Barrio Azteca. The American Mafia, in addition to having links with organized crime groups in Italy such as the Camorra, the 'Ndrangheta, Sacra Corona Unita, and Sicilian Mafia, has at various times done business with the Irish Mob, Jewish-American organized crime, the Japanese Yakuza, Indian Mafia, the Russian Mafia, Thief in law, and Post-Soviet Organized crime groups, the Chinese Triads, Chinese Tongs, and Asian street gangs, Motorcycle Gangs, and numerous White, Black, and Hispanic prison and street gangs. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that organized crime groups held $322 billion in assets in 2005.
This rise in cooperation between criminal organizations has meant that law enforcement agencies are increasingly having to work together. The FBI operates an organized crime section from its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and is known to work with other national (e.g., Polizia di Stato, Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police), federal (e.g., Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States Secret Service, US Diplomatic Security Service, United States Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, United States Border Patrol, and the United States Coast Guard), state (e.g., Massachusetts State Police Special Investigation Unit, New Jersey State Police organized crime unit, Pennsylvania State Police organized crime unit, and the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation) and city (e.g., New York City Police Department Organized Crime Unit, Philadelphia Police Department Organized crime unit, Chicago Police Organized Crime Unit, and the Los Angeles Police Department Special Operations Division) law enforcement agencies.
This theory treats all individuals as rational operators, committing criminal acts after consideration of all associated risks (detection and punishment) compared with the rewards of crimes (personal, financial etc.). Little emphasis is placed on the offenders’ emotional state. The role of criminal organizations in lowering the perceptions of risk and increasing the likelihood of personal benefit is prioritized by this approach, with the organizations structure, purpose, and activity being indicative of the rational choices made by criminals and their organizers.
This theory sees criminal behavior as reflective of an individual, internal calculation by the criminal that the benefits associated with offending (whether financial or otherwise) outweigh the perceived risks. The perceived strength, importance or infallibility of the criminal organization is directly proportional to the types of crime committed, their intensity and arguably the level of community response. The benefits of participating in organized crime (higher financial rewards, greater socioeconomic control and influence, protection of the family or significant others, perceived freedoms from 'oppressive' laws or norms) contribute greatly to the psychology behind highly organized group offending.
Criminals learn through associations with one another. The success of organized crime groups is therefore dependent upon the strength of their communication and the enforcement of their value systems, the recruitment and training processes employed to sustain, build or fill gaps in criminal operations. An understanding of this theory sees close associations between criminals, imitation of superiors, and understanding of value systems, processes and authority as the main drivers behind organized crime. Interpersonal relationships define the motivations the individual develops, with the effect of family or peer criminal activity being a strong predictor of inter-generational offending. This theory also developed to include the strengths and weaknesses of reinforcement, which in the context of continuing criminal enterprises may be used to help understand propensities for certain crimes or victims, level of integration into the mainstream culture and likelihood of recidivism / success in rehabilitation.
Under this theory, organized crime exists because legitimate markets leave many customers and potential customers unsatisfied. High demand for a particular good or service (e.g., drugs, prostitution, arms, slaves), low levels of risk detection and high profits lead to a conducive environment for entrepreneurial criminal groups to enter the market and profit by supplying those goods and services. For success, there must be:
Under these conditions competition is discouraged, ensuring criminal monopolies sustain profits. Legal substitution of goods or services may (by increasing competition) force the dynamic of organized criminal operations to adjust, as will deterrence measures (reducing demand), and the restriction of resources (controlling the ability to supply or produce to supply).
Sutherland goes further to say that deviancy is contingent on conflicting groups within society, and that such groups struggle over the means to define what is criminal or deviant within society. Criminal organizations therefore gravitate around illegal avenues of production, profit-making, protectionism or social control and attempt (by increasing their operations or membership) to make these acceptable. This also explains the propensity of criminal organizations to develop protection rackets, to coerce through the use of violence, aggression and threatening behavior (at times termed 'terrorism'). Preoccupation with methods of accumulating profit highlight the lack of legitimate means to achieve economic or social advantage, as does the organization of white-collar crime or political corruption (though it is debatable whether these are based on wealth, power or both). The ability to effect social norms and practices through political and economic influence (and the enforcement or normaliszation of criminogenic needs) may be defined by differential association theory.
Social disorganization theory is intended to be applied to neighborhood level street crime, thus the context of gang activity, loosely formed criminal associations or networks, socioeconomic demographic impacts, legitimate access to public resources, employment or education, and mobility give it relevance to organized crime. Where the upper- and lower-classes live in close proximity this can result in feelings of anger, hostility, social injustice and frustration. Criminals experience poverty; and witness affluence they are deprived of and which is virtually impossible for them to attain through conventional means. The concept of neighborhood is central to this theory, as it defines the social learning, locus of control, cultural influences and access to social opportunity experienced by criminals and the groups they form. Fear of or lack of trust in mainstream authority may also be a key contributor to social disorganization; organized crime groups replicate such figures and thus ensure control over the counter-culture. This theory has tended to view violent or anti-social behavior by gangs as reflective of their social disorganization rather than as a product or tool of their organization.
Sociologist Robert K. Merton believed deviance depended on society’s definition of success, and the desires of individuals to achieve success through socially defined avenues. Criminality becomes attractive when expectations of being able to fulfill goals (therefore achieving success) by legitimate means cannot be fulfilled. Criminal organizations capitalize on states of normlessness by imposing criminogenic needs and illicit avenues to achieve them. This has been used as the basis for numerous meta-theories of organized crime through its integration of social learning, cultural deviance, and criminogenic motivations. If crime is seen as a function of anomie, organized behavior produces stability, increases protection or security, and may be directly proportional to market forces as expressed by entrepreneurship- or risk-based approaches. It is the inadequate supply of legitimate opportunities that constrains the ability for the individual to pursue valued societal goals and reduces the likelihood that using legitimate opportunities will enable them to satisfy such goals (due to their position in society).
Criminals violate the law because they belong to a unique subculture - the counter-culture - their values and norms conflicting with those of the working-, middle- or upper-classes upon which criminal laws are based. This subculture shares an alternative lifestyle, language and culture, and is generally typified by being tough, taking care of their own affairs and rejecting government authority. Role models include drug dealers, thieves and pimps, as they have achieved success and wealth not otherwise available through socially-provided opportunities. It is through modeling organized crime as a counter-cultural avenue to success that such organizations are sustained.
The alien conspiracy theory and queer ladder of mobility theories state that ethnicity and 'outsider' status (immigrants, or those not within the dominant ethnocentric groups) and their influences are thought to dictate the prevalence of organized crime in society. The alien theory posits that the contemporary structures of organized crime gained prominence during the 1860s in Sicily and that elements of the Sicilian population are responsible for the foundation of most European and North American organized crime, made up of Italian-dominated crime families. Bell's theory of the 'queer ladder of mobility' hypothesized that 'ethnic succession' (the attainment of power and control by one more marginalized ethnic group over other less marginalized groups) occurs by promoting the perpetration of criminal activities within a disenfranchised or oppressed demographic. Whilst early organized crime was dominated by the Irish Mob (early 1800s), they were relatively substituted by the Sicilian Mafia and Italian-American Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood (1960s onwards), Colombian Medellin cartel and Cali cartel (mid-1970s - 1990s), and more recently the Mexican Tijuana Cartel (late 1980s onwards), Mexican Los Zetas (late 1990s to onwards), the Russian Mafia (1988 onwards), terrorism-related organized crime Al-Qaeda (1988 onwards), the Taliban (1994 onwards), and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (2010s to onwards) . Many argue this misinterprets and overstates the role of ethnicity in organized crime. A contradiction of this theory is that syndicates had developed long before large-scale Sicilian immigration in 1860s, with these immigrants merely joining a widespread phenomenon of crime and corruption.
The 'Ndrangheta (, Italian: [nˈdraŋɡeta], Sicilian: [(ɳ)ˈɖɽaɲɟɪta]) is a Mafia-type organized crime group based in Calabria, Italy. Despite not being as famous abroad as the Sicilian Mafia, and having been considered more rural than the Neapolitan Camorra and the Apulian Sacra Corona Unita, the 'Ndrangheta became the most powerful crime syndicate in Italy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. While commonly tied together with the Sicilian Mafia, the 'Ndrangheta operates independently from them, though there is contact between the two, due to the geographical proximity and shared culture and language between Calabria and Sicily.
A US diplomat estimated that the organization's narcotics trafficking, extortion and money laundering activities accounted for at least 3% of Italy's GDP in 2010. Since the 1950s, the organization has spread towards Northern Italy and worldwide. According to a 2013 "Threat Assessment on Italian Organised Crime" of Europol, the 'Ndrangheta is among the richest (in 2008 their income was around 55 billion dollars) and most powerful organised crime groups at a global level.Albanian mafia
The Albanian mafia or Albanian organized crime (Albanian: Mafia Shqiptare) are the general terms used for criminal organizations based in Albania or composed of ethnic Albanians. Albanian organized crime is active in Europe, North America, South America, and various other parts of the world including the Middle East and Asia. The Albanian Mafia participates in a diverse range of criminal enterprises including trafficking in drugs, arms, humans, and human organs. The Albanian criminal scenario is characterized by diversified criminal plans which, in their complexity, show one of the highest criminal capacities in the world. In Albania alone, there are over 15 mafia families that control organized crime. According to WikiLeaks reports, the Albanian mafia has monopolized various international affiliations from as far east as Israel, to as far west as South America. These reports primarily indicate a strong connection between politicians and various Albanian mafia families. According to the Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS), Albanian mafia groups are hybrid organizations (various sectors of society), often involved in both criminal and political activities.The Albanian Mafia, in its entirety, constitutes one of the highest crime generating elements in the world, combining the "traditional" characteristics – plainly manifest in the rigid internal discipline, in the clan structure, in the "endogamic closure" which increases the impermeability, the reliability and the endogenous solidity – with modern and innovative elements, such as trans-nationality, commercial imprinting and the criminogenous culture of service. The massive logistics to almost anywhere and the syncretic nature of Albanian crime has facilitated its establishment outside the mother country and its integration with the local criminality, exploiting the opportunities inherent in the entire compatriot network.
In the United States, the term "Albanian Mafia" may include or refer specifically to various Albanian-American organized crime groups, such as the Rudaj Organization or Albanian Boys, both based in New York City. Albanian-American crime groups vary in the extent of their connections to Albanian mafia groups in Albania or Europe, ranging from loosely connected to or mostly independent of Albanian mafias in Europe to being essentially American extensions of European Albanian mafia groups.American Mafia
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 Sicilian Mafia or other 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, with the heaviest activity in New York City, and with a substantial presence in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Buffalo and New England, in areas such as Boston, Providence and Hartford. It is also highly active in Chicago and other large Midwestern cities such as Detroit, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, a smaller presence in places like New Orleans, Florida, Denver, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, and 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.Black Hand (extortion)
Black Hand (Italian: Mano Nera) was a type of Italian and Italian-American extortion racket. It was a method of extortion, not a criminal organization as such, though gangsters of Camorra and the Mafia practiced it.
A June 1912 newspaper report in the New York Tribune stated that the Black Hand "really exists only as a phrase. As an organization such a thing never existed out of the minds of the police. It is a catch phrase made familiar through the newspapers, and the quick witted criminal of Latin extraction lost no time in using it as a nom de crime, which he wrote at the bottom of his blackmailing letters, sometimes – in fact, generally – adding fanciful decorations of his own, such as daggers dripping blood, revolvers spitting fire and bullets, crudely drawn skulls and crossbones and the inevitable sketch of a human hand."Caporegime
A caporegime or capodecina, usually shortened to just a capo, is a rank used in the Mafia (both the Sicilian Mafia and Italian-American Mafia) for a made member of the crime family who heads a "crew" of soldiers and has major social status and influence in the organization. Caporegime is an Italian word, which is used to signify the head of a family in Sicily, but has now come to mean a ranking member, similar to captain or senior sergeant in a military unit. In general, the term indicates the head of a branch of an organized crime syndicate who commands a crew of soldiers and reports directly to the Don (Boss) or an Underboss or Streetboss.Drug cartel
A drug cartel is any criminal organization with the intention of supplying drug trafficking operations. They range from loosely managed agreements among various drug traffickers to formalized commercial enterprises. The term was applied when the largest trafficking organizations reached an agreement to coordinate the production and distribution of cocaine. Since that agreement was broken up, drug cartels are no longer actually cartels, but the term stuck and it is now popularly used to refer to any criminal narcotics related organization.
The basic structure of a drug cartel is as follows:
Falcons (Spanish: Halcones): Considered as the "eyes and ears" of the streets, the "falcons" are the lowest rank in any drug cartel. They are responsible for supervising and reporting the activities of the police, the military, and rival groups.
Hitmen (Spanish: Sicarios): The armed group within the drug cartel, responsible for carrying out assassinations, kidnappings, thefts, and extortions, operating protection rackets, and defending their plaza (turf) from rival groups and the military.
Lieutenants (Spanish: Teniente): The second highest position in the drug cartel organization, responsible for supervising the hitmen and falcons within their own territory. They are allowed to carry out low-profile murders without permission from their bosses.
Drug lords (Spanish: Capos): The highest position in any drug cartel, responsible for supervising the entire drug industry, appointing territorial leaders, making alliances, and planning high-profile murders.There are other operating groups within the drug cartels. For example, the drug producers and suppliers, although not considered in the basic structure, are critical operators of any drug cartel, along with the financiers and money launderers. In addition, the arms suppliers operate in a completely different circle, and are technically not considered part of the cartel's logistics.Glossary of Mafia-related words
This is a glossary of words related to the Mafia, primarily the Italian American Mafia and Sicilian Mafia.
administration: the top-level "management" of an organized crime Family -- the boss, underboss and consigliere.associate: one who works with mobsters, but hasn't been asked to take the vow of Omertà; an almost confirmed, or made guy.connected guy: an associate
barone: a baron or landlord.books, the: a phrase indicating membership in the Family. If there is a possibility for promotion, then the books are open. If not, the books are closed.
boss: the head of the Family who runs the show. He decides who gets made and who gets whacked. The boss also gets points from all Family business; also see don, chairman.
capo: the Family member who leads a crew; short for caporegime or capodecina.
captain: a capo.
clip: to murder; also to whack, hit, pop, burn, ice, put a contract out on.
code of silence: not ratting on one's colleagues once one has been pinched -- no longer a strong virtue in organized crime families. Also, see omertà.
comáre, literally "godmother", usually pronounced "goomah" or "goomar" in American English: a Mafia mistress.
confirm: to be made; see made guy.
consigliere: the Family adviser, who is always consulted before decisions are made.
Cosa Nostra (Our thing): mob term for the family or Mafia
crank: speed; in particular, crystal meth.
crew: the group of soldiers under the capo's command.
cugine: a young soldier striving to be made.
don: the head of the Family; see boss.
earner: a member who brings in a lot of money for the family
eat alone: to keep for oneself; to be greedy.
family: an organized crime clan, like the Genoveses, the Gambinos, or the Sopranos.
forget about it (often pronounced "fuggedaboutit"): An exclamation; as the title character explains in Donnie Brasco:"Forget about it" is, like, if you agree with someone, you know, like "Raquel Welch is one great piece of ass. Forget about it!" But then, if you disagree, like "A Lincoln is better than a Cadillac? Forget about it!" You know? But then, it's also like if something's the greatest thing in the world, like, "Minchia! Those peppers! Forget about it!" But it's also like saying "Go to hell!" too. Like, you know, like "Hey Paulie, you got a one inch pecker?" and Paulie says "Forget about it!" Sometimes it just means "Forget about it."
G: a grand; a thousand dollars; also see large.
garbage business: euphemism for organized crime.
Golden Age: The days before RICO.
goombah: an associate, especially a senior member of a criminal gang.
heavy: packed, carrying a weapon.
hit: to murder; also see whack.
juice: the interest paid to a loan shark for the loan; also see vig.
kick up: give a part of the income to the next up in the command chain.
lam: To lay down, go into hiding
large: a thousand, a grand, a G.
made man: an inducted member of the Family.
make one's bones: gain credibility by killing someone.
mock execution: to whip someone into shape by frightening them.
mattresses, going to, taking it to, or hitting the: going to war with a rival clan or family.
message job: placing the bullet in someone's body such that a specific message is sent to that person's crew or family; see through the eye and through the mouth.
mob, the: a single organized crime family; OR all organized crime families together.
mobbed up: connected to the mob.
mobster: one who is in the mob.
Omertà: to take a vow of silence in the Mafia, punishable by death if not upheld.
outfit: a clan, or family within the Mafia.
pass: A reprieve from being whacked.
paying tribute: giving the boss a cut of the deal.
pinched: to get caught by the cops or federal agents.
points: percent of income; cut.
program, the: The Witness Protection Program.
rat: one who snitches or squeals after having been pinched.
RICO: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Passed in 1970 to aid the American government in clamping down on organized crime activities, its scope has since been broadened to prosecute insider traders and anti-abortion protesters.
shakedown: to blackmail or try to get money from someone; also to give someone a scare.
shy: the interest charged on loans by loan sharks.
shylockbusiness: the business of loansharking.
soldier: the bottom-level member of an organized crime Family, as in "foot soldiers."
spring cleaning: cleaning up, hiding or getting rid of evidence.
tax: to take a percentage of someone's earnings.
This Thing of Ours (Cosa Nostra): a mob family, or the entire mob.
through the eye: a message job through the eye to say "We're watching you!"
through the mouth: a message job through the mouth to indicate that someone WAS a rat.
underboss: the second in command to the boss.
vig: Vigorish abbr. the house's or bookie's take in gambling or the interest paid to a loan shark for the loan; also see juice.
waste management business: euphemism for organized crime.
whack: to murder; also clip, hit, pop, burn, put a contract out.
wiseguy: a made man.Irish Mob
The Irish Mob is an organized crime group in the United States, in existence since the early 19th century. Originating in Irish American street gangs—depicted in Herbert Asbury's 1928 book The Gangs of New York—the Irish Mob has appeared in most major U.S. cities, including Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
The Irish Mob also has a strong presence in Ireland; however, unlike in the United States, the group has only been present in Ireland from the 1960s and onwards. Predominantly active in Dublin and Limerick, the group most often works under crime families focusing on the drug trade.Jewish-American organized crime
Jewish-American organized crime emerged within the American Jewish community during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has been referred to variously in media and popular culture as the Jewish Mob, Jewish Mafia, Kosher Mafia, Kosher Nostra, or Undzer Shtik (Yiddish: אונדזער שטיק). The last two of these terms are direct references to the Italian Cosa Nostra; the former is a play on the word kosher, referring to Jewish dietary laws; while the latter is a direct translation of the Italian phrase Cosa Nostra (Italian for "our thing") into Yiddish, which was at the time the predominant language of the Jewish diaspora in the United States.
In the late 19th century in New York City, Monk Eastman operated a powerful Jewish gang that competed with Italian and Irish gangs, notably Paul Kelly's Five Points Gang, for control of New York City's underworld. Another notorious gang, known as the Lenox Avenue Gang, led by Harry "Gyp the Blood" Horowitz, consisted of mostly Jewish members and some Italian members (such as Francesco Cirofisi). It was one of the most violent gangs of the early 20th century and became famous for the murder of gambler and gangster Herman Rosenthal.
In the early 1920s, stimulated by the economic opportunities of the roaring twenties, and later prohibition, Jewish organized crime figures such as Arnold Rothstein were controlling a wide range of criminal enterprises, including bootlegging, loansharking, gambling, and bookmaking. According to crime writer Leo Katcher, Rothstein "transformed organized crime from a thuggish activity by hoodlums into a big business, run like a corporation, with himself at the top." Rothstein was allegedly responsible for fixing the 1919 World Series. At the same time, the Jewish bootlegging mob known as The Purple Gang dominated the Detroit underworld during prohibition, while the Jewish Bugs and Meyer Mob operated in the Lower East Side of New York City before being absorbed into Murder, Inc. and becoming affiliates of the Italian-American Mafia.
The largely Jewish-American and Italian-American gang known as Murder, Inc. and Jewish mobsters such as Meyer Lansky, Mickey Cohen, Harold "Hooky" Rothman, Dutch Schultz, and Bugsy Siegel developed close ties with and gained significant influence within the Italian-American Mafia, eventually forming a loosely organized, mostly Jewish and Italian criminal syndicate known in the press as the "National Crime Syndicate." Jewish and Italian crime groups became increasingly interconnected in the 1920s and 1930s, as they often occupied the same neighborhoods and social statuses of the time. The two ethnic crime groups became especially close in New York City following the establishment of the close relationship between partners Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky and their subsequent elimination of many of the so-called "Mustache Pete", or the Sicilian-born gangsters that often refused to work with non-Italians and even non-Sicilians. The Cohen crime family of Los Angeles and Las Vegas was notably part of both the Jewish Mafia and Italian-American Mafia, and lines between the two ethnic criminal organizations often blurred throughout the 20th century. For decades after, Jewish-American mobsters would continue to work closely and at times compete with Italian-American organized crime.List of Italian Mafia crime families
This is a list of independent Italian crime families around the world that are considered to be part of Cosa Nostra (the Mafia). This list does not include all Camorra, 'Ndrangheta or Sacra Corona Unita clans ("crime families").List of criminal enterprises, gangs and syndicates
This is a listing of enterprises, gangs, mafias and syndicates that are involved in organized crime. Tongs and outlaw motorcycle gangs, as well as terrorist, militant, and paramilitary groups are mentioned if they are involved in criminal activity for funding. However, since their stated aim and sega genesis is often ideological rather than commercial, they are distinct from mafia-type groups.National Crime Syndicate
The National Crime Syndicate was the name given by the press to the multi-ethnic, loosely connected American confederation of several criminal organizations, a confederation that mostly consisted of the closely interconnected Italian-American Mafia and Jewish mob but also included to various lesser extents Irish-American criminal organizations and other ethnic crime groups. The name's origins are uncertain.Omertà
Omertà (, Italian pronunciation: [omerˈta]) is a Southern Italian code of honor and code of silence that places importance on silence in the face of questioning by authorities or outsiders; non-cooperation with authorities, the government, or outsiders; and willfully ignoring and generally avoiding interference with the illegal activities of others (i.e., not contacting law enforcement or the authorities when one is aware of, witness to, or even the victim of certain crimes). It originated and remains common in Southern Italy, where banditry or brigandage and Mafia-type criminal organizations (like the Camorra, Cosa Nostra, 'Ndrangheta and Sacra Corona Unita) are strong. Similar codes are also deeply rooted in other areas of the Mediterranean, including rural Spain, Crete (Greece), and Corsica, all of which share a common or similar historic culture with Southern Italy.
It also exists, to a lesser extent, in certain Italian-American neighborhoods, especially in neighborhoods where the Italian-American Mafia has strong influence, as well as in Italian ethnic enclaves in countries such as Germany, Canada, and Australia, where Italian organized crime exists. Similar codes of silence have been observed in Jewish-American, Greek-American, African-American, Hispanic, and certain working class Irish-American neighborhoods. Retaliation against informers is common in criminal circles, where informers are known as "rats" or "snitches".Organized crime in Italy
Organized crime in Italy and its criminal organizations have been prevalent in Italy, especially Southern Italy, for centuries and have affected the social and economic life of many Italian regions since at least the 19th century.
Five major heavily active mafia-like organizations are known to exist in Italy. Among the oldest and most powerful of these organizations, having started to develop between 1500 and 1800, include: Cosa Nostra (the original "Mafia" or the Sicilian Mafia) of Sicily; 'Ndrangheta of Calabria (who are considered to be among the biggest cocaine smugglers in Europe); and Camorra of Naples. The remainder of the five most powerful are two organizations created in the 20th century: Stidda of Sicily and Sacra Corona Unita of Apulia.
Four other Italian organized crime groups, the Banda della Magliana of Rome, Mala del Brenta of Veneto, and Banda della Comasina and Turatello Crew of Milan, held considerable influence at the height of their power but are now weakened or even defunct or inactive. The latest creation of Italian organized crime (IOC), Mafia Capitale, was disbanded by the police.The most best known Italian organized crime group is the Mafia or Sicilian Mafia (referred to as Cosa Nostra by members). As the original "Mafia", the Sicilian Mafia is the basis for the current colloquial usage of the term "mafia" to refer to organized crime groups. The Mafia or Sicilian Mafia expanded overseas, especially in the United States, where Sicilian mafiosi eventually joined together with Neapolitan criminal groups in the US and other Italian-American and Italian immigrant criminal groups to form the modern Italian-American Mafia (or simply the "American" Mafia). Though less well-known, the Neapolitan Camorra, Calabrian 'Ndrangheta, and offshoots of both these groups have also operated or set down roots in foreign countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand, Germany, and the United Kingdom.Racket (crime)
A racket, according to the current common and most general definition, is an organized criminal act in which the criminal act is some form of substantial business, or a way to earn illegal money either regularly, or briefly but repeatedly. A racket is therefore generally a repeated or continuous criminal operation.
However, originally and often still specifically, a “racket” referred to 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 now be used less strictly to refer to any continuous or repeated 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."Tong (organization)
A tong (Chinese: 堂; Jyutping: tong4; Cantonese Yale: tong; literally: 'hall') is a type of organization found among Chinese immigrants living in the United States, Canada, Australia and The United Kingdom. In Chinese, the word tong means "hall" or "gathering place". These organizations are described as secret societies or sworn brotherhoods and are often tied to criminal activity. In the 1990s, in most American Chinatowns, clearly marked tong halls could easily be found, many of which have had affiliations with Chinese crime gangs.Today tongs are, for the most part, members of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Associations, which are pro-Kuomintang traditional groups. These associations provide essential services for Chinatown communities such as immigrant counseling, Chinese schools, and English classes for adults.:48 Tongs follow the pattern of secret societies common to southern China and many are connected to a secret society called the Tiandihui, which follows this pattern. Other groups worldwide that follow this pattern and are connected with the Tiandihui are known as hui, Hongmen, and triads.Triad (organized crime)
A triad is one of many branches of Chinese transnational organized crime syndicates based in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan and in countries with significant Chinese populations, such as the United States, Canada, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Brazil and New Zealand.
The Hong Kong triad is distinct from mainland Chinese criminal organizations. In ancient China, the triad was one of three major secret societies. It established branches in Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Chinese communities overseas. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, all secret societies were destroyed in mainland China in a series of campaigns organized by Mao Zedong. Although organized-crime groups have returned to China after Mao, they are not triad societies. Known as "mainland Chinese criminal organizations", they are of two major types: dark forces (loosely-organized groups) and black societies (more-mature criminal organizations). Two features which distinguish a black society from a dark force are the ability to achieve illegal control over local markets, and receiving police protection. The Hong Kong triad refers to traditional criminal organizations operating in (or originating from) Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and south-east Asian countries and regions, while organized-crime groups in mainland China are known as "mainland Chinese criminal groups".
Y. K. Chu's The Triads as Business (2002) examines the rise of the Hong Kong triad and the role of triad societies in legal, illegal and international markets. Peng Wang's The Chinese Mafia (2017) studies the origin of Chinese secret societies in ancient China, explores the rise of organized crime in post-Mao China, and investigates the ways in which local gangs offer quasi-law enforcement and private protection to local governments, corporations and individuals. Wang's book also explores how local gangs form mutually-beneficial networks with police officers and how the formation of a political-criminal nexus enables local gangs to control illegal markets and sell protection to citizens and businesses.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.
Organized crime groups in Asia
|China, Hong Kong and Taiwan|
Organized crime groups active in the Americas
See: Organized crime groups in Canada
Organized crime groups in Europe