Though there is no conventional definition of Organized Crime or OC, it may be defined as a criminal activity involving a group of individuals organized in an identifiable structure. It is often perpetrated through extensive networks with the aim of making illicit financial profits and in protecting the members of the organization. In the US, OC is defined by the statutes as a criminal activity in which six or more people (with one of them being the leader) are involved in a continual violation the law in order to make large benefits in form of cash or other resources.
The FBI definition adds the use of violence, threats, corruption and extortion in carrying out these illegal activities including: • Bribery; Sports and otherwise • Making and distributing fake goods • Embezzling workers union money • Money laundering • Mail and Wire fraud • Provision of murder for hire • Drug trafficking • Running of prostitution • Sexual exploitation of minors etc. The organized crimes carried out at the state level include: Gambling, kidnapping, murder, robbery, bribery, arson, drugs and extortion.
Almost in all these cases, violence and actual threats are involved. Violence is used to discipline ‘misbehaving’ persons, to threaten and create fear. Sometimes a person who becomes and obstacle to the group’s objectives is eliminated by murder and serves as an example to others. Violence is however avoided as much as possible in order to help keep the group and its activities underground (Tilley, 2005). OC has been going on in a lot of countries for a long time. Illegal gangs like the Mafia are recorded to have been formed in Sicily back in the 19th century.
Gangs of crooks have operated in other countries for a long time without serious recognition. In Australia for instance, OC did not get serious recognition until the early 1980s. Other terms used to refer to organized crime include Criminal Enterprise and Syndicate Crime. Even though it’s not easy to give a concise definition of OC, there are some basic characteristics that are always included in the nature, formulation and execution of OC. OC gangs take long before they die. This is because they have a self-perpetuating nature.
Individuals leave the groups and others join continuously and the organization therefore persists and the driving forces of these groups which are the huge amounts of money that they make and the greed to strengthen the organization. The enormous profits make it possible to expand, strengthen and perpetuate the organization. Most of these syndicates therefore involve themselves in many business activities in order to increase their income (Morrison, 2002). Another tactic that they use is to involve themselves in ordinary legal businesses as a cover for their other more lucrative illegal bussinesses.
Respectable public figures and government officials get a way of getting involved without prejudice as they will always use the legitimate “door” of the business. This also provides them with a leeway in case something goes wrong and and illegal deal in uncovered. They deny any involvement crime and claim their innocence on account that they beelievede that the organization was carrying all their businesses in a legitimate and transparent manner. In order to maintain tight control and instill displine, violence and murder are common instruments used in OC.
Errant members cannot be legally sued in court since the business illegal are brutally punished never to repeat the mistake or killed to serve as examples to others. In order to facilitate and monopolize businesses, officials are usually bribed and corrupted. In many cases, it becomes almost impossible to prosecute the top players in the government. This is because of the difficulty of amassing enough evidence and also because of the influence of the personalities involved. In some such cases, some members are sacrificed and murdered in order to protect the big fish.
These are usually those who happen to know too much and could give damaging evidence. It becomes hard to curb organized crime because even people who are actually very far from the business benefit from the proceeds. In some cases, such people had no idea that they were receiving the proceeds of illegal and dangerous deals until it gets uncovered. This makes them accomplices and as a result, they become actively involved in burrying any evidence, making it hard for the authorities to gather enough evidence to prosecute.
As the world is advancing toward towards globalization, OC is not being left behind. With very effective methods of real time communication and money transfer throughout the world, it has become relatively easy for these gangs to carry out their activities across international borders. Authorities all over the world are trying to find ways of eliminating organized crime. Some governments are funding costly programs for finding ways of dealing with OC. This has come as a result of making many attemps at eliminating it and finding little or no results at all.
Many of the people involved in decision making, especially the politicians want a quick method which will give them glory and help them stay in office. Past attemps clearly show the issue of solving the problem of OC is not as simple as it may appear. In Australia, programs used in the West have been. Even though they had shown some chances of success in the 90s, evaluation of their effectiveness showed that there are some significant obstacles that hampered their success. tried but have ended up having little or no effect. Below are some of the models for tackling OC.
Cherney and Sutton (2007) believed that the challenges came as a result of trying to implement foreign OC prevention models without modifications to suit the local situation. A comprehensive programs and effective need to be developed in order to curb organized crime at all levels, but they also need to be tailor-made in order to be applicable at a local level. The Australian Institute of Criminallagy however insists that failure to access crime knowledge and inadequate technical skills were the main contributing factors in the failure of these programs (AIC , 2009).
Prevention of crime is vital for society to live in peace and for businesses to operate freely and profitably. Law enforcement agencies need of necessity be equiped with all that is needed to combat crime. Adoption of the wrong programs will most certainenly lead to failure. With the current globolization, organized crime is also becomming globalized and modern programs of OC prevention must take this into account (Crawford, 2007). According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the rate of crime has been on the decline in the past few decades. In Autralia, two development projects carried out in 1998.
The demonstration projects were conducted in Queensland and South Australia. The objective of these projects was to determine the level of effectiveness of police on repeat victimizations involving burglary i. e. cases where the same house is broken into twice. The Queensland demonstration had the following outcome: i) Repeated burglary had gone down considerably during and after the period of police intervention. ii) Chances of one individual’s house being burgled for the second time had also reduced. iii) According to the results, the total number of cases of house break-ins was not affected.
iv) There was no significant difference in the opinion between the residents of the experimental and control areas involving the demonstration projects. In South Australia, the outcome was as follows: i) The cases of house break-ins increased in other areas but not in the experimental areas. ii) The presence of the law enforcement authority in the project did not affect the occurrence of burglary during the period that it lasted. iii) In the six months following the intervention, the break-ins declined notably in the expoerimental areas but remained unaffected in the control areas.
The common conclusion is that the police intervention in these projects some positive impact inreducing repeat victimization cases but no effect on the overall burglary rates. Australian population comprises of different communities which can be classified further into smaller groups. OC is organized at this small group level by the Chinese, the Japanese and the Vietmamese. The Japanese and Chinese OC’s are also known as the Yokozuna and the Triads respectively. In combating OC, authorities therefore use ethnic lines (Newburn, 2007). Today the authorities check on the Triads’ organized criminal activity in relation to for crimes including:
i) Drug importation and distribution – they supply enough heroin to meet the needs of the Australian from South East Asia. ii) Illegal gambling, iii) Prostitution and running of brothels which is prohibited by law, iv) Extortion and coercion, v) Human trafficking and other Immigration practices, vi) Money laundering. vii) Credit card fraud – a relatively modern sophisticated crime which they have taken up recently. In conclusion, organized crime is deeply rooted today’s society for the criminal justice system to expect a cure all program or a quick fix technique of dealing with and eliminating it.
At the current state of affairs, more practical approach would be to minimize the occurrences and to mitigate the effects. The main hindrances facing the current approaches need to be tackled as they seem locked into models of managerialism and localism where systems imported from abroad are implemented at the grassroots and expected to work give wondrous. Bibliography Australian Government, Attorney-General’s Department, [email protected] gov. au . Last Modified: Thursday, 25 February 2010, Retrieved: May 6, 2010. Cherney, A and Sutton, A. , (2007). Crime Prevention in Australia.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 40(1). Crawford, A. (2007). Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 4th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Morrison, S, (2002). Approaching Organized Crime: Where are we now and Where are we Going? Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. Newburn, T. (2007) Crime Prevention and Community Safety. Devon: Willan Publishing. Tilley, N. (2005) Introduction: thinking realistically about crime prevention, in Tilley, N. (ed. ) Handbook of Crime Prevention and Community Safety, Willan Publishing, Devon.