Stakeholders & Organized crime

Organized crime affects all sectors of society. From the days of the prohibition to the development of the Syndicate to the present where criminal activities have been globalized, evidence available indicates that some socio-economic and political situations favor the growth of organized crime. On the political front, Dijk and Buscaglia (n. d. ), show that organized crime is strongest in places where Democratic governance is weakest and vice versa. As Democratic governments are able to guarantee the protection of all citizens, they reduce the operational space of organized crime operators.

Where governance is weak, organized crime thrives through the development of structures that ensure that criminal elements offer patronage. The criminal operatives, being the strongest force, have no hesitation in committing human rights abuses. Moreover, organized crime thrives in democracies where high-level corruption exists. Where corruption is rampant, organized crime grows by “co-opting public institutions” (Dijk & Buscaglia, n. d. ). The criminal elements are able to take over crucial sections or departments of the state or even the entire operating mechanism of the state in what Dijk (n.

d) call “state capture”. While the political situation of a country will determine its ability to fight organized crime, a crucial arm of government that plays a critical role in the war against organized crime is the criminal justice system. Research conducted by Dijk (n. d) shows that the number of police and prosecution officers employed to deal with organized crime has a direct impact on the levels of crime. In addition, the financial and other resources provided to personnel in the criminal justice system have a direct bearing on the success or failure of the fight against organized crime.

This therefore means that more personnel and resources should be provided where the level of criminal activities is high. To show the critical role that the criminal justice system plays in the war on organized crime, Dijk (n. d) notes that where a system exists that quickly apprehends and convicts organized crime operatives, the system itself acts as a deterrent. It is for this reason that organized crime fails to work effectively in countries where there are more arrests and convictions but thrives in countries with weaker criminal justice systems.

The war on organized drug cartels in Mexico suffers from lack of enough personnel resources on the Mexican side (Smith, 2009). While the American government appreciates the need to strengthen the Mexican law enforcement machinery because of the drug menace that Mexico poses to the US, government has been criticized for not providing the necessary assistance fast enough. Co-operation with Mexican law enforcement agencies was started by the administration of George W.

Bush under the program known as the Merida Initiative and it aimed at improving the ability of the Mexican law enforcement authorities to tackle drug dealers (Smith, 2009). Under this program, the US government would provide such equipment as surveillance helicopters and other equipment. The major criticism of the program is that the transfer of funds to make it operational has been structured in such a way that immediate success cannot be guaranteed while some senators feel that the federal authorities are not doing enough to deal with the Mexican drug cartels (Smith, 2009).

Smith (2009) further notes that surveillance on the US-Mexico border is set to increase as military planners are working on a plan to raise an additional 1,000 troops to patrol the border. Another major stakeholder in the war on organized crime is the private sector. Where private sector governance is weak, organized crime thrives (Dijk, n. d. ). This is especially so in the age of globalization as financial services are now available via international private sector operators who might be beyond the control of individual governments. Dijk (n. d.

) observes that where banking services are not offered in a transparent and effective manner and also in situations where businesses have difficulty obtaining loans from the established financial institutions, illegal financiers are relied upon to provide financial services. Such services are offered at higher interest rates but the businesspersons affected are willing to comply as this is the only source of loan capital. Perhaps the really critical area for providers of financial services in the war on organized crime is their role in fighting money-laundering activities.

This area requires co-operation between the government and the providers of financial activities. Dijk (n. d. ) notes that there is a relationship between a country’s legislation on money laundering and the level of organized crime. In addition, the level of government supervision of the financial institutions determines the success or failure of the anti-money-laundering measures. Where the regulatory standards applied to banks are low, the level of organized crime is higher than it is in countries with higher regulatory standards (Dijk, n.

d. ). In addition to supervision of the financial institutions, organized crime is easily dealt with where financial institutions enforce accounting standards (Dijk, n. d. ). Where proper accounting standards are applied, the level of organized crime reduces. Providers of financial services are critical in war on organized crime especially in the modern age where criminal masterminds distance themselves from the activities they mastermind and generally paint the picture of respectable business executives.

The public sector is another crucial stakeholder in the war on organized crime. Dijk (n. d) notes that while organized crime is capable of state capture, it is also capable of buying protection from the state in situations where public servants are easy to corrupt. A crucial department in the public sector that can play a leading role in the war on organized crime is the customs department (Dijk, n. d). Customs authorities play an especially critical role in the war on organized crime as they are responsible for allowing the importation and exportation of goods and services.

They could therefore play a crucial role in preventing drug trafficking and the smuggling of goods and services. Because of their potential to make or break organized crime, customs authorities are always targets of capture by organized crime (Dijk,n. d). Where customs authorities are weak, organized crime thrives. The judiciary is another stakeholder in the war on organized crime. Dijk (n. d) notes that the level of independence of the judiciary determines the extent to which the war on organized crime will be successful.

An independent judiciary has judges who are less likely to be corrupted and who are not scared to pass judgements that hurt organized crime. On the other hand, where judicial independence is absent, judges are easy to corrupt. Such judges could aid organized crime “through rulings that slowed down or obstructed law enforcement in organized criminal cases” (Dijk, n. d). Another important stakeholder in the war on organized crime is the private citizen. The level to which ordinary citizens could aid in the war on organized crime is determined by the individual’s socio-economic status (Dijk, n.

d). Organized crime masterminds to source for labor for their activities exploit poverty and unemployment. Moreover, poverty and unemployment have been blamed for encouraging the development of extortionist groups which create employment and income for their members by providing security services (Dijk, n. d). In addition, where the socio-economic situation of a country is weak, organized crime takes over by developing its own systems for conflict resolution. Organized crime also thrives where there is no clear enforcement of property rights (Dijk, n. d).