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What Is Organized Crime?

Drug trafficking is an illegal activity that organized criminals engage in.
Printing counterfeit money and other computer crimes are becoming more common for criminal organizations.
Organized crime is often involved in gambling.
Organized crime around the world earns approximately $1 trillion US Dollars a year.
The Italian mafia is the most famous organized crime group.
Some organized criminal organizations are involved in human trafficking.
Article Details
  • Written By: Thomas Henry
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 19 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Organized crime is the name for illegal acts committed by a criminal organization or group, working together to achieve a common goal — usually to make money. For many people, the term stirs TV and movie images of gangsters from the Italian and Sicilian mafia in the five major crime families identified in New York City by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Real-life organized crime, however, also includes mobsters from Russia and Eastern Europe. Tings from African and Asian countries are involved in everything from prostitution and trafficking people and drugs to pornography, financial scams, computer crimes, genocide, and terrorism.

The FBI estimates these groups of organized criminals around the world annually earn $1 trillion US Dollars (USD) in profits. In some places, criminals have infiltrated legitimate businesses and industries, such as construction and garbage disposal. The legitimate businesses are often used to launder money and help cover up illegal activities.

Organized criminals in Italy have been known as the mafia since the 1800s, and these organizations have been in the United States since the early 1900s. One of the most famous of the Italian mobsters in the US was Charles "Lucky" Luciano, who came from Sicily in 1907, when he was still a boy. He is credited with helping establish the modern mafia, or La Cosa Nostra, which is the organization of Italian and Sicilian crime families that operate mainly in US cities on the East Coast.

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Since the early 1990s, members of organized crime rings have been coming to the United States from countries that comprised the former Soviet Union. Their activities typically include human smuggling and prostitution, fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking, auto theft, and extortion. In Russia, they have been regarded as the leading threat to national security because of the threat they pose to political institutions and the economy.

Asian groups of criminals have been active in the United States since the early 1900s. In addition to China and Japan, most of these gangsters have ties to Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. They have begun to participate in white-collar crime and use legitimate businesses to cover their criminal activity. They are often involved in crimes ranging from gambling and prostitution, to smuggling aliens, and trafficking heroin and methamphetamine. These criminals are also known to commit financial fraud and produce counterfeit computers and clothing.

Of the organized groups of criminals from African countries, those in Nigeria are considered the most significant threat. They operate in more than 80 countries, including the United States. Much of their criminal activity is centered around drug trafficking and financial fraud.

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Discuss this Article

cooler
Post 8

Is there a real definition of Transnational Organized Crime?

Bhutan
Post 4

The history of organized crime dates back to the turn of the 20th century, but became really prominent in the 1920’s with prohibition.

Organized crime today is depicted in films and television shows. For example, the Godfather series was a fictional account that was based on the New York crime families.

In the film Lee Strasburg played the role of Jewish mobster, Meyer Lansky.

The film offered a first glimpse of what the mysterious criminal underworld is all about. People could not get enough of movies like the Godfather.

This is why the gritty television series, “The Sopranos was critically acclaimed and well received by audiences.

The story lines often took brutal turns and this series tried to show the viewer a realistic portrayal of American gangster life in Northern New Jersey.

The characters were edgy and there were some attempts to humanize the main character Tony Soprano. The organized crime information displayed in this series was very accurate.

Sunny27
Post 3

I know that the Genovese crime family mainly worked out of the Bronx, upper and lower Manhattan and all over New Jersey.

The Gambino crime family operated out of Brooklyn, Long Island, Queens, New Jersey, Staten Island, Florida, Los Angeles, and Connecticut. The Lucchese family worked out of Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and New Jersey, while the Bonano family worked out of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, Manhattan, the Bronx, New Jersey and Florida.

Finally the Colombo crime family worked out of Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and New Jersey. All of these families engaged in organized crime money laundering.

subway11
Post 2

Transnational organized crime is well known and documented. For example, many of the organized crimes today in the United States originated from Italy where it is still practiced.

Perhaps the most famous of them all are the New York Five Families. These families are crime families that have an organizational structure.

John Gotti, the famous New York gangster was the head of the Gambino crime family but was sentenced to prison and later died in prison because his underboss, Sammy Gravano testified against him.

The mafia crime families all had a specific area of operation that was mainly in the New York metropolitan area, but much of their operations expanded into other states.

latte31
Post 1

The organized crime of the 1920s involved the black market expansion of selling alcohol.

During this time period prohibition was in place and alcohol was banned in the United States. This created enormous opportunities for Al Capone's organized crime group to enter in this type of business.

Since it was banned many people wanted alcohol and would pay a heavy price for it. As a result organized crime in the 1920’s involved this illegal trade because it was so lucrative.

In fact many people resorted to selling alcohol but much of the alcohol sold in the streets was very poor quality and the deaths from alcohol poisoning reached an all time high of over 400%.

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