Organized Crime Essay

4755 Words Feb 17th, 2012 20 Pages
"Yes, Mr. Hoover, there is a Mafia" (Rudy Giuliani) Organized crime is in a class by itself. It's big, it's powerful, it's well-connected, and highly profitable. Mafia is the most common term used to describe the more profitable criminal organizations around the world, but other terminology exists, such as: international criminal organizations (military usage); transnational crime (United Nations usage); and enterprise crime (FBI usage). As the term is utilized in criminology, it refers to any (or all) of six (6) different types of crime: (1) crime as business, which includes white collar crime as well as various forms of corruption; (2) offenses involving works of art, counterfeiting, or other
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Albanese (2002) and Hagan (2010) argue that the key characteristic is corruption; that organized crime operates along a continuum in this regard, slowly eating away at the integrity of legitimate social institutions. Conklin (2010) argues the key characteristic is continuity, or the ability of these kinds of organizations to survive and achieve permanence from generation to generation. The definitional problems have created legal problems. At law, a criminal statute normally details a certain act (actus reus) and mental state (mens rea). This is next to impossible with organized crime because no one knows how to precisely measure the degree of corruption that would be the necessary threshold, and in terms of mental state, as Cressey (1969) put it, no one knows how or wants to criminalize an "attitude" (which is the requisite mental state for becoming an organized criminal). Best analyzed as a business operation, organized crime involves marketing techniques (threat, extortion, smuggling) and a product line (drugs, sex, gambling, loan-sharking, pornography, or other outlawed items). The business system resembles a legitimate business enterprise, and will even have a corporate executive structure, a staff of assistants, and

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