Throughout this document numerous characteristics of criminal organizations will be covered. Theories, such as the alien conspiracy, social control, differential association, and strain and anomie will be briefly discussed to produce a clearer understanding of how criminal organizations develop. In addition, the problems that can transpire as a result of organized crime, the legal limitations associated with combating organized crime, a federal law that supports anti-crime efforts, and a realistic solution for controlling organized crime will further be presented.
Organized crime is a group of individuals composed of numerous ethnicities and transnational groups who work and operate together, apart, or in combination with legitimate businesses and political entities.
The theories listed below can assist researchers, society, professionals, and law enforcement by providing many solutions and causes for how organized crime develops. These theories are supported with solid research, statistics, strong arguments, and facts. These tools offer a reason, understanding, and probability for why the individual engages in illegal activity and why criminal organizations are successful. In addition, theory’s can further help law enforcement determine what areas are more prone to organized crime and what individuals may be involved with organized crime, such as with criminal organizational profiling.
The alien conspiracy theory states individuals involved with organized crime (the Sicilian Mafia or Costra Nostra) migrated to the United States. Once in the United States these groups of individuals created numerous criminal organizations throughout the United States and are responsible for bringing their criminal culture. The development of criminal organizations under the alien conspiracy theory was the result of immigrants needing to find a means to survive (University of Phoenix, 2010).
The social control theory states that an individual’s involvement with a community and family will alleviate the possibility of the individual engaging in illegal activity. In addition, individuals usually consider the rewards and punishments to a criminal act before committing the act. If a community remains socially functionally, cooperates with anti-crime programs, and instills moral values that respect local ordinances and laws, the development of criminal activity of any type will be extremely difficult (University of Phoenix, 2010).
Differential association theory focuses on one’s social group-environment. An individual who socializes with those who refrain from illegal activity will usually follow. The same goes for those who socialize with criminal deviants, juvenile delinquents, career criminals, or disregard the social norms within the community, in which one resides. These individuals will usually follow a path of wrongdoing (University of Phoenix, 2010).
The strain and anomie theory believes that individuals who engage in criminal activity do so as a result of wanting to obtain a piece of the American dream or materialistic items of value. When one cannot obtain these items through a legal means one will resort to illegal methods to do so. Unfortunately, criminal organizations can offer individuals residing in these conditions or living in poor lifestyles rewards that far exceed that of any legitimate business (University of Phoenix, 2010).
The legal limitations associated with combating organized crime vary. Legal limitations can affect law enforcement’s ability to prosecute criminals and criminal organizations effectively as a result of many loopholes that exist within the legal system. Each states Constitution is unique from among the rest. One jurisdiction’s procedures may seriously conflict with another jurisdiction, therefore, making it almost impossible for any law enforcement agency to apprehend criminal wrongdoers. Furthermore, criminal and criminal organizations are quite aware of the boundaries-limitations that exist, and use this knowledge as a means to operate business without much risk. One major drawback law enforcement departments and special units encounter are the strict rules, regulations, and procedures of surrounding states. Unfortunately, criminals are exempt from such rules and use this to one’s advantage (Stephens, 1996).
If the limitations were more stringent criminals and organizations would further continue to evade detection and apprehension by law enforcement. The world would continue to witness an increase in crime and law enforcement’s already failing efforts to combat crime would significantly continue to prove ineffective. One idea would be for surrounding states and the federal government to create laws that permit law enforcement officers to conduct investigations outside one’s jurisdiction without much difficultly. Less stringent limitations would make law enforcement’s efforts with combating crime much easier. The only foreseeable problem with less stringent limitation laws is departments, special units, and individual officers may jeopardize cases and investigations for the sake of accomplishing the detection, apprehension, and prosecution of organizations and its members. This in return would increase constitutional Rights violations, civil litigations, internal departmental reprimand, and increase the number of innocent individuals forced to accepting plea bargain negotiations or risk incarceration.
The United States is currently making efforts to join forces with countries, such as Canada to combat organized crime and fight terrorism. The United States like Canada believes criminal organizations seek out country’s that lack stability. Underdeveloped and moderately developed countries are breeding grounds for criminal organizations as a result of insufficient and inadequate law enforcement personnel. Furthermore, the idea is to use and share resources-intelligence globally. In return, a network of anti-crime units will be spread throughout the world, therefore, making it extremely difficult for criminal organizations and its members to evade law enforcement (Public Safety Canada, 2006).
An important federal law that supports combating criminal organizations is the 1965/1966 Mafia-membership law that proposed by Senator John McClellan. Senate Bill 2187, 89th Congress, Senate Bill 678, 90th Congress: The law applies to domestic and international organized crime groups and punishes any individual who is knowingly or willfully involved with the Mafia. The law also punishes individuals involved with any organization that engages in criminal activity, such as gambling, extortion, blackmail, narcotics, prostitution, and labor-racketeering. In addition, the individual must have knowledge of the organizations purpose or criminal intentions. Any individual found guilty of violating this law will not receive a prison sentence of fewer than five years and not more than a $20,000.00 fine (Organized Crime in the U.S., 2009).
Many solutions exist that can benefit law enforcement when controlling organized crime. As the world evolves so does technology. Law enforcement can implement this technology in a number of ways. First, new technology permits improved research. In return, research can be conducted to provide the individual officer, special units, and departments with education and training that far exceeds the education and training offered in the past. Research can improve the equipment officers use to detect, prevent, and apprehend criminal wrongdoers. Moreover, departments and special units will be better equipped to analyze a number of features that make up the criminal organization. Features, such as an organizations structure, members, primary location and cells, and purpose-cause. This will allow departments to develop and organize sophisticated strategies that can effectively prevent organizations from developing, focus on jurisdictions prone to the development of criminal organizations, apprehend individuals involved with criminal activity and criminal organizations, and effectively prosecute.
A second solution would be for the federal, state, and local governments to create and implement laws-statutes that pressure law enforcement agencies on all levels to cooperate. This is something law enforcement in the United States has never witnessed in the past. The ideology would be for all law enforcement departments throughout the United States to act as a team when detecting, preventing, and apprehended terrorist organizations, other criminal organizations, and individual wrongdoers involved with serious criminal organizations.
After carefully researching organized crime one can only imagine the difficulty law enforcement throughout the United States and around the encounters. Criminal organizations are sophisticated and equipped with technology and a network of individuals professionals trained in many disciplines. Theories provide educated answers; assist law enforcement with a means to combat crime, and protect and serve society. Furthermore, the legal limitations that once prohibited law enforcement to effectively apprehend criminals is now displaying signs of cooperation.
Organized Crime in the U.S. (2010). Organized Crime and Federal Legislation: 1965-1967. Retrieved September 9, 2010, from http://www.organized-crime.de/OCLAWS.htm
Public Safety Canada. (2006). Working Together to Combat Organized Crime. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/prg/le/oc/_fl/ogcrime06_e.pdf
Stephens, M. (1996). Global Organized Crime. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/snyder/globalcrime.htm
University of Phoenix. (2010). Week four overview. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from University of Phoenix, Week Four, rEsource. CJA393-Interdisciplinary Capstone Course Website.
University of Phoenix. (2010). Week five overview. Retrieved September 11, 2010, from University of Phoenix, Week Five, rEsource. CJA393-Interdisciplinary Capstone Course Website.