There are many definitions of organized crime which come from various characteristics of this form of crime defined by different experts. All in all, it is known that organized crime is centralized organization made of a group of people with the motif of engaging in illegal businesses to make profits. These organizations use threats, force and corruption to ensure their existence. Organized crime has its roots in Sicily and spread to almost all countries in the world including United States.
This paper will focus on organized crime, how it gained foothold in USA, influence on government and its post prohibition era. At this juncture, it is critical to acknowledge what leads to formation of such organizations. Documented sources clearly depict that political upheavals and instability, easy money laundering and enhanced communication for instance internet and web motivate idlers to engage in these activities. It is thus evident that organized crime is usually done when opportunity arises.
It is unfortunate that organized crime institutions have grown so big that they even control local governments through bribery (Albanese, 2000). Organized crime is perpetrated by a group of people who come together with the motif of making profits through illegal activities. According to experts, these organizations have their own constitution culture and characteristics. It is claimed that people in these institutions are ready to commit illicit criminal activities as long as there is financial benefit; money to be made.
Some of the most common illicit activities through organized crime include sex crimes, illegal drugs trafficking, human trafficking, counterfeit goods, identity theft and credit card fraud (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 2010). History dictates that organized crime activities started way back in some parts of Europe and Asia. Criminal organizations are said to be as old as several centuries in Italy and Japan. In fact, Italy is considered to be the root of organized crime. It is claimed that organized crime started in Sicily in the middle ages and spread to the rest of Italy in a bid to depose foreigners who ruled the country at the time.
These institutions were unable to defeat the foreigners and things became tough for them and most of the criminals in these organizations were arrested especially in late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. As a result, most of the criminals in Italy migrated to other nations where they reverted to their old ways; forming criminal gangs. Organized crime started to flourish in the new land especially in countries where authorities were unaware. Most of the regions affected were Europe and North America including United States.
In fact, Experts claim that organized crime started to be a problem in the United States in the twentieth century after infiltration by Italian immigrants. Organized crime is involved with many illegal activities in the USA including illegal trades of drugs for instance narcotics, gambling, legal enterprises and prostitution. Organized crime has adverse consequences to people and the economy of a country. These institutions are usually violent and cause serious impacts on people. In response to these institutions, insurance companies covering people, vehicles and other property increase their premiums.
As that is not enough, taxes and banking fees are increased in quest to recover money lost through these institutions (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 2010). Most of these institutions make tonnes of money from their illegal businesses and as they say, money is power. These organizations take advantage of this to take control of the local government indirectly through corruption and bribery and criminals cannot be arrested. Mike McDonald who was a gambling boss is one such example. It is claimed that he controlled Senators, Congressmen Mayors and the police force through his illegal gambling money.
A time came when the government decided to forbid these activities through tougher policies and laws. Mafia leaders and criminals were arrested in large numbers with the motif of discouraging these illegal activities. This strategy worked as the cases of illegal activities reduced drastically and most of the criminals in organized gangs started engaging in legitimate activities. However, as time passed by after the prohibition laws, some people started to engage in illegal activities in the legitimate businesses for instance casinos.
Organized crime rose again and it is unfortunate that up to now, this is still a major problem. It will take the cooperation of the private sector and the government to curb this menace. References Albanese, J. (2000). The Causes of Organized Crime: Do Criminals Organize Around Opportunities for Crime or Do Criminal Opportunities Create New Offenders? Retrieved 18 August 2010 from, http://ccj. sagepub. com/content/16/4/409. short Royal Canadian Mounted Police. (2010). Organized Crime: a global issue. Retrieved 18 August 2010 from, http://www. rcmp-grc. gc. ca/oc-co/index-eng. htm