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An Overview of the Three Types of Organized Crime

By on February 24, 2017

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There are 300 million people in our country, and about that many ways that a person can break the law. However, when it comes to organized crime, all of the shenanigans that a person can get into basically fall under three umbrella sections in the criminal justice system:


An Overview of the Three Types of Organized Crime

  1. Labor Racketeering
    Labor racketeering is a very common form of organized crime that is sometimes associated with labor unions, but is a common approach for funding gangs, mobs, and mafias. Basically, labor racketeering is a form of extortion, of both legal and illegal business ventures. You’ve probably seen movies where thugs show up at a small business owner’s shop and offer them protection for a fee. The protection they’re offering is really just from their own violence, theft, or property damage. If the business owner were to decline the protection coverage, the thugs destroy their business. This situation is called “labor racketeering.”


    Sometimes labor racketeering is carried out for illegal business ventures, such as prostitution or drug trafficking. Sometimes it is carried out against law-abiding business owners.


    As mentioned above, sometimes labor racketeering involves infiltration or overtaking of a labor union by a criminal organization. Once the organization has taken control of the union, it can extort money from the members and the businesses that are involved with it. When this occurs, it’s a substantial civil rights issue that requires arbitration or mediation services to regain the integrity of the union (although the faith and reputation in it might be forever compromised).

  2. Gang Crime

    By definition, a gang is a group of individuals who are united through a common purpose to pursue criminal activity. Gang crime often includes racketeering (mentioned above), burglary, car theft, drug trafficking and kidnapping and ransoms. The type of people who engage in gang crime are often violent and hardened criminals. Although the mission of the gang may just be to draw funds through nefarious means, it is very common for gang commit violent crimes like murder or rape.


    One significant problem with gang crime is its ability to propagate itself. Children who grow up in an environment without a positive relationship with at least one adult are thirty times more likely to participate in gang-related activity, especially if they are living in an area with strong gang ties. These kids grow up to have more kids that are statistically inclined to join a gang eventually. When resources are channeled to taking down a gang, they might stifle it for a short time, but eventually a new kingpin emerges and takes root. The best way to combat gang crimes is to invest in the children in communities where gangs are strong, to prevent one generation from handing the gauntlet down to the next.

  3. Syndicate Criminal Activity

    Syndicate criminal activity is the organized crime of fueling the black market. The production, distribution, and a sale of illegal goods is syndicate crime. This includes drug production and trafficking, firearm distribution, counterfeit money creation, money laundering, the grooming and supply of prostitutes, as well as the connection of prostitutes to johns, and the resale of stolen items.


    In some cases syndicate crime and gang crime cross over, but gang crime tends to be more propagated by violence, whereas syndicate crime is motivated by money. In fact, many of the highest-ranking members in syndicate crime organizations are well-respected members of society who live in well-respected areas of their town.


    Although it involves less violence than gang crimes, according to Preserve, this form of organized crime is the most dangerous because it involves more structure and high levels of power. A syndicate criminal organization usually involves a boss who overseas the operation, and several sub-bosses below him who carry out his orders with the members who report to them. It is not uncommon for an organized crime syndicate to infiltrate government organizations and political offices, making them literally above the law. When the people responsible for taking down organized crime are involved in it themselves, it is very difficult to dismantle the dragon. Many syndicated crime organizations have drawn international media when they are broken up, because of the level of resources necessary to do so.

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