Controlling Organized Crime
Organized crime is a very real threat to the way of life all citizens of this country; and many others, enjoy. Exploration into the problems and relationships of organized crime can provide a window into a secret world. Outlining known legal limitations and critiquing Federal laws and strategies also assists in providing a picture of the issues. Furthermore evaluating effective prosecutions can provide insight in order to suggest a realistic solution to control organized crime. Problems and Relationships of Organized Crime
There are various problems and relationships established by the presence of organized crime. Internationally, organized crime is a proven threat to human security with their ability to exploit differences in countries. In doing so, organized crime is able to enrich and empower their standing in such places; which assists them in expansion and detection avoidance. The existence of such groups impedes social, economic, political, and cultural development within the societies the group inhabits.
Through their various methods of manipulation and monopolization of government, politics, financial institutions, labor unions, and legitimate business, an organized criminal syndicate effectively intertwines itself within the communities in which they dominate. Within our own country, such groups bring about low morale and misery with their underground endeavors like prostitution and human trafficking. Communities they are prominent in find that illegal drugs and weapons are often more prevalent. Organized crime utilizes violence in part of their activities; or other acts, that are a means of intimidation whether implied or actual.
Such groups use tactics of deceit, extortion, and murder to maintain operations. Organized crime is also responsible for many stock frauds and financial scams. The relationships established within organized crime are specifically sought out to ensure economic gain; the primary goal of all organized crime. Structure of the group is to insulate leadership and membership from detection by authorities. Their many actions and associated connections assure that those involved within the ‘family’ are protected from sanctions and/or prosecution as a result of structural foundations.
It is estimated that the economic impact of global organized crime and the illegal profits obtained are around $1 trillion per year (FBI Overview, 2012, p. 1). Some of the current trends of organized crime are based solely on relationships associated to their goals. As profit and power are primary objectives, organized crime groups are becoming more entrepreneurial. There is even indication that many groups are forming short-term alliances between several criminal groups more often. Organized crime groups are changing with society in that there is greater focus on diverse and national commodities for their profit margins.
As such, transnational criminal alliances are increasing in occurrences. Moreover, there is greater potential for violence and structural changes in order to maximize profitability of operations no matter what the operational focus may be. These trends are directly related to the changes occurring in various countries as well as here in the United States. Increased importance on the fight against terrorism creates opportunity for organized crime; funds and resources to expose and eliminate organized crime are being redirected.
The breakdown of the Warsaw Pact has created socio-political impacts and more countries are moving toward market-based economies; another prime focus of organized crime is to fill gaps such societies experience with growth and prosperity. Additionally, the reunification and increased links between formally estranged regions and countries provides a new exploratory means for expansion of immediate operations. Also, significant instability of government in some regions of the world creates fewer resources and efforts to control crime; a literal breeding ground for power and profit opportunities. Legal Limitations of Combating Organized Crime
While the opportunities of organized crime seem to be numerous, many law enforcement agencies around the world are engaged in ensuring this growth does not go unchecked. Addressing the existing legal limitations is a major step in the fight against organized crime. The first front of the fight addresses jurisdictional processes and procedures that may seriously conflict with another jurisdiction; making it almost impossible for any law enforcement agency to apprehend criminals that cross state or country borders. One strategy to combat this issue is being heralded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Although many federal and state departments and agencies are engaged in fighting organized crime, the primary agency involved in combating organized crime is the FBI. Many of the FBI field offices have organized crime task forces. In those regions, the FBI works with state and local partners; as well as with other federal agencies, to combat organized crime in many areas. The Organized Crime Section of the FBI is divided into three units: La Costa Nostra, Italian organized crime and racketeering; Eurasian/Middle Eastern organized crime; and Asian and African criminal enterprises.
The FBI is responsible for the overall coordination and support of all organized crime investigations; utilizing 56 field offices with designated territories, and direct support and assistance from the Washington DC headquarters (FBI Overview, 2012, p. 1). Despite the efforts of the FBI and interagency cooperation, criminal organizations are quite aware of the boundaries and limitations that exist. For this reason, organized crime uses this knowledge as a means to operate business without much risk and insulate themselves as necessary within their territories.
Another strategy to dispel these issues of knowledge is the Organized Crime Council; a unification of Federal agencies with the sole goal of addressing nationwide organized crime activity and operations. Founded in the Department of Justice, specifically the U. S. Attorney General’s office, the role of the council is to create domestic organized crime policy. The council is chaired by the Deputy Attorney General and has representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the U. S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the U.
S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the U. S. Secret Service; the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); the U. S. Postal Inspection Service; Diplomatic Security; and the U. S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General. However, resources and funds previously earmarked for the fight against organized crime are now being redirected to terrorism; a very real threat to our national security. For this reason, organized crime is again flourishing; getting ever more imaginative in their endeavors and movements in an effort to survive.
Realistic Solution to Control Organized Crime As stated previously, organized crime continues the 300-year-old goal of prosperity. Given the problems and known legal limitations, there can still be a realistic solution to control organized crime. Evaluating the effectiveness of organized criminal prosecutions not only shows additional legal limitations, but, also shows where there is necessary policy and procedure improvement needed. To illustrate, factors which frequently make effective prosecution difficult are well known.
The effective organization and technical skills of the criminal syndicates allows for reasonable doubt and unsuccessful collection of evidence against members of the group. Furthermore, top racketeers’ insulation from the daily operations of their illegal enterprises leaves authorities and prosecutors the ‘little fish to fry’; which provides for little impact to the organization. Also, the use of complex business transactions and seemingly normal business operations to cloak illegal ventures creates an effective smokescreen to hide illegal activity and therefore disprove the prosecution’s case against those formally charged.
Another issue is the unavailability of witnesses ready to testify regarding inside operations because of the fear and intimidation organized crime utilizes. Even more alarming is the control that racketeers sometimes gain over local law-enforcement officials and as a result of many loopholes that exist within the legal system and laws. Putting officers, community leaders, or politicians on the payroll is an effective way for organized crime to make charges disappear or radically diminish if they ever come to fruition.
Given this information to be true and accurate, the obvious solution would be to close the loop holes, ensure corruption does not interfere with investigations and prosecutions, and develop the means by which to determine legal and illegal transactions in commerce that fund the many operations organized crime maintains. While the solution seems a simple one, it is anything but simple. Strategies have been in constant development for years; the primary objective being to thwart organized crime.
To date, such strategies and executed resulting legislation has allowed for some very prominent members of well known organizations to find themselves on the wrong side of a jury decision. However, it is well known that organized crime lives on. Resources of manpower, money, and time are in short supply to effectively create and execute appropriate methods of combat against their activities. Of primary concern should be the closing of any and all loop holes that organized crime members utilize. Review of current and proposed legislative actions needs to occur.
Comparing past failures of investigation and prosecution to established laws will allow for legislators to tighten controls and eliminate the possibility of technicality mistakes. Additionally, providing strengthened sanctions for co-conspirators would go far in deterring corruption from the onset of investigations to the conviction process. Officers, politicians, community leaders, and even individuals who support organized crime would be made aware of severe consequences associated with assistance of any kind.
Enacting sanctions for these individuals would possibly make them think twice about taking bribes or cooperating with manipulative measures that organized crime is famous for doing. Finally, creating a commerce system that ensure there is actual and accurate transactions associated with sales and dealings of business would be a good step in identifying organized crime activity. The banking industry would not be a viable source for such information as criminals tend to avoid such institutions.
Therefore, going directly to monitoring business transactions; that include receipts, deposits, and withdrawals, would give rise to any disconcerting data embedded within operations. Suspected businesses could then be targeted with appropriate laws to do so and the means to track all necessary elements would also be necessary. The technology available today can only support such a unification of business operation and law to monitor and discriminate against suspected organized crime operations. References Carter, D. L. 1994). International Organized Crime. Retrieved from www. cj. msu. edu/~outreach/security/orgcrime. html Lyman, M. D. , ; Potter, G. W. (2007). Organized crime (4th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall. Mallory, S. L. (2007). Understanding organized crime. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett. President of the United States. (2011). Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime. Retrieved from http://www. whitehouse. gov/sites/default/files/Strategy_to_Combat_Transnational_Organized_Crime_July_2011. pdf