Some crime families have strict membership requirements, along ethnic lines. Is this something that is common among organized crime organizations, or is this just an Italian/Sicilian thing? Why would a criminal organization have such a strict rule about the ethnicity of its full members in the first place?
It’s not uncommon that a legitimate business will also facilitate criminal activity. For instance, consider a motel that charges by the hour, or an adult “book store” with private booths in the back. Is there a place in society for these kinds of businesses, or should the government use tools like civil forfeiture to shut them down? Explain your reasoning.
Undercover law enforcement officers investigating organized crime groups run the risk of being put in a position where they are expected to engage in illegal behavior in order to maintain their cover. Is there a problem with a law enforcement officer possibly breaking the law in order to maintain his or her cover? It would not be out of the ordinary for a motorcycle gang member to participate in a fight with a rival gang. Should an undercover officer jump into the fight and actually assault a member of the rival gang so that he is not suspected as an outsider? Discuss what limits, if any, you would impose.
|Subject||Law and governance||Pages||4||Style||APA|
Organized Crime Families
Organized crime families such as Mafia are formed for various reasons considering that some are financially motivated whereas others are motivated by politics. Nonetheless, the ultimate goal of these groups is to make money through the supply of illicit goods and services and give members a sense of protection, power, and pride. For instance, the American Mafia, which is an Italian-American organized crime group with operations in Chicago, New York, and other major cities across the United States (Lombardo, 2012), thrived on the supply and sale of illicit liquor during the 1920s before expanding into other criminal ventures, including illegal gambling and drug trafficking as Critchley (2008) points out. One of the defining characteristics of organized crime families is that they are formed along ethnic lines (Andris et al., 2021). To have a full Mafia membership, for instance, one is required to be of Italian descent through the lineage of his father (Chatterjee, 2005). Members who meet this rule are then referred to as “made men”. The Sicilian structure also has a set of rituals that allies and associates who are not of Italian descent/ethnicity take to become members (Lombardo, 2012).
Moreover, these networks are also formed through businesses such as hotels and nightclubs that allow members to pose as legitimate businessmen. Organized crime groups are characterized by rigidity, impersonality, high authority, strict adherence to the set rules such as those in the omerta code, and harsh punitive action against members who stray. Notably, as revealed in Hobbs (2002), members are forced to take oaths, undergo initiation rituals, and swear to uphold secrecy and abide by the set rules, which makes them extremely loyal to the groups. Combined with the extreme importance placed on power hierarchies and the impersonal nature of members, especially those in top positions in the pyramid power, these factors make organized crime families more dangerous to the members.
Some legitimate businesses such as motels that charge hourly and bookstores or cybercafes with private booths tend to facilitate criminal activities. Such types of businesses, no matter the taxes they pay to the government and the number of job opportunities they create, should have no place in society (Marion, 2008). This is because allowing these businesses to thrive will not only cause crime rates to escalate at both national, state, local levels, but also pose unfair competition to businesses that operate legally.
Andris, C., DellaPosta, D., Freelin, B. N., Zhu, X., Hinger, B., & Chen, H. (2021). To racketeer among neighbors: spatial features of criminal collaboration in the American Mafia. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 1-26.
Chatterjee, J. (2005). The changing structure of organized crime groups. Research and Evaluation Branch, Community, Contract and Aboriginal Policing Services Directorate, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Critchley, D. (2008). The origin of organized crime in America: The New York city mafia, 1891– 1931 (Vol. 1). Routledge.
Hobbs, D. (2002). Organized crime families.
Lombardo, R. M. (2012). Organized crime in Chicago: beyond the mafia. University of Illinois Press.
Marion, N. E. (2008). Government versus organized crime. Pearson Prentice Hall.