Fighting organized crime in the U.S. and abroad
Organized crime is a problem that has been taken very seriously in the U.S. since the Prohibition. Prospective law enforcement agents in criminal justice degree programs can learn more about combating these groups, commonly called the mob or mafia, and join a variety of agencies on the state and federal level that work to halt the proliferation of organized crime and the criminals behind it.
History of the mob in the U.S.
The mob, mafia, gangs and organized criminals have played an important role in social and political life throughout U.S. history.The resources below will give criminal justice degree seekers a better understanding of how these groups have evolved over time.
Prohibition – What the Italian mafia is probably most famous for is bootlegging, or providing liquor illegally, during the Prohibition.
Al Capone – Alphonse Capone, better known as Al Capone or Scarface, is one of the most notorious criminals associated with organized crime in history. Investigated for tax evasion, bootlegging, prostitution, extortion, racketeering and a variety of other illegal activities, Capone led one of the most ruthless gangs in Chicago and the U.S. as a whole.
Changes in crime over time – Over the years, the seriousness of organized crime has not changed, but the activity of suspects has increased. As technology has changed, criminals have gotten better at covering their tracks, and a whole new world has opened up with cyber crime and new ways of stealing and laundering money.
What is organized crime?
Organized crime involves groups of criminals who participate and run a variety of illegal activities such as drug trafficking, financial scams, sex and slave trafficking, and extortion and money laundering. Many students in criminal justice degree programs can focus on organized crime and specialize in the prevention of it.
Definitions and resources – There are a variety of ways to define and classify organized crime. From stereotypical Italian mafioso types to Nigerian prince money schemes, this type of illicit and illegal activity is perpetrated by a variety of ethnic and economic groups.
Transnational organized crime – The planning and execution of illegal business transactions on the international level is classified as this type of criminal activity. Cyber crimes, as well as human, weapon and drug trafficking are all included and constitute serious problems on a global scale.
Gangs and hate crimes – As organized crime is classified as a group of people brought together to perform illicit acts, many gangs that perpetrate hate crimes and terrorist activities are classified in this category.
Examples of types of criminal activity
The types of crimes committed by the mob take many different forms that all have to be addressed and combated differently. While a variety of practices have been adapted to prevent illicit activities like human and weapons trafficking, new techniques must constantly be developed as crimes change and evolve.
Human trafficking – Particularly in Eastern Europe, Russia and Asia, human trafficking is a concern. The selling of humans beings into slavery or prostitution is both a violation of local laws and internationally recognized human rights laws.
Visa and marriage fraud – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) works to stop these marriage schemes, which are usually related to human trafficking and prostitution.
Threat assessment on the national and international scale
When groups of criminals act together, regardless of the scale, it is always a serious cause for concern. The FBI and other agencies work to prevent organized crime in any and all capacities.
Response and reaction – The U.S. government works to constantly improve practices for fighting organized crime using the resources of organizations such as the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Government planning and strategy – The White House released an official statement in July 2011 regarding national security and transnational crime. This report includes ideas for international cooperation and fighting organized crime outside of and within U.S. borders.
Assessing organized militaristic and civilian crime – Government committees have addressed the problems with fighting crimes like drug trafficking and money laundering on an international scale, as well as the importance of global cooperation in the battle.
Organizations that combat organized crime
The FBI is specially suited for combating organized crime in the U.S., but many smaller law enforcement groups also work to fight against this highly effective criminal type. These are just a few of the agencies and groups that students pursuing criminal justice degrees can look to for potential career opportunities.
Local and city police – Many police forces on the state, county and city level have a unit designated to fight against the mob, gangs and other types of organized crime groups. Some of these task forces focus on specific illegal activities perpetrated by these groups, such as drug trafficking, while others coordinate their efforts with federal law enforcement to fight organized crime on the national level.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – The FBI is the primary agency tasked with preventing organized crime from committing illicit acts in the U.S. Organized crime groups are divided by their various ethnic backgrounds and what illegal schemes and activities they participate in.