This paper presents a discussion of organized crime in the USA, drawing specific attention to the origin and history of organized crime in the state.
In criminology, organized crime is defined as any criminal activity that is carried out in a systematic or organized manner for large-scale profit (Lyman & Potter, 2010). In essence, Organized crime is carried out by criminal groupings or enterprises purposely for crime and for that reason cannot be easily identified by law. Mostly conducted in business corporations organized crime can be executed at a city, interstate or international scale with most of its operations kept secret at all times. Organized crime has long been linked with the mafia, as organized crime activities were first discovered in Italy in the early 17th century. This trend in criminal activities has continued on to the 21st century and has been a bother to the different state law authorities affected. Much as the definition of organized crime has been provided in research studies, the foundations of organized crime have been misunderstood, and for that reason, there is need to describe the various conditions necessary for a criminal activity to be termed as organized crime (Kleeman, 2007).
At the outset, organized crime is founded on the need for illegal goods and services, and for that reason, the participants usually engage in activities that ensure the supply of these goods such as drugs and prostitution. However, legitimate business enterprises can be involved in organized crime by linking with criminal groups so as to acquire profit illegally so as to avoid being caught. Additionally, most organized crime activities involve the use of violence to force people into adhering to their rules and laws in the specific country in which they operate.
Organized crime gained a foothold in the United States in the early 20th century with the arrival of Italian immigrants in the country (Critchley, 2009). Palpably, these Italian immigrants settled in specific locations and for that reason were clustered in different locations in the state. Their lack of knowledge of the English language put these Italians in trepidation, as they felt threatened that they could not communicate efficiently with the American law authorities. For that reason, they felt abused by the authorities, hence felt the need to protect themselves from the intolerant American authorities. Organized crime groups were formed and gradually took over most parts of the towns where these Italians dwelled.
By mid 20th century, these organized crime groups, such as the Al’Capone of Chicago, had taken over the better part of the state (Critchley, 2009). Crest organized crime groups sought to influence government, and they focused their activities on changing the way the government was run, as well as, some of the policies that had been put in place. Fundamentally, these groups used their influence to protect their own, as well as, ensure that their criminal activities continued with minimal interference from the US authorities. As research studies explain, the prohibition era occurring in the 1920s was the primary reason for the rise of organized crime in the US. This is because of the fact that the US government had prohibited the sale and manufacture of alcoholic beverages along its border, hence making these commodities illegal and highly in demand (Critchley, 2009). However, the organization of organized crime groups in the post-Prohibition era took a much different approach, with such organizations looking into other criminal activities such as drug trafficking, credit card fraud, and prostitution among other things.
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