Organized crime are acts carried out for profit or power, by more than two people acting together over a long or indeterminate period, through the abuse of commercial structures, the use of violence or intimidation, and having an effect on political life, the media, public administration, justice or the economy. More simply put, organized crime is perpetrated by any group having a corporate structure who primary objective is to obtain money through illegal activities, often surviving on fear and corruption. Groups are increasingly crossing national borders. Mafia-type organizations are also coming to resemble multinational companies. Their statutory objective is to make money. The are irregular only in that they have recourse to crime to do so.
Organized crime are acts carried out for profit or power, by more than two people acting together over a long or indeterminate period, through the abuse of commercial structures, the use of violence or intimidation, and having an effect on political life, the media, public administration, justice or the economy. More simply put, organized crime is perpetrated by any group having a corporate structure who primary objective is to obtain money through illegal activities, often surviving on fear and corruption.
Organized crime can be segmented into four types: (a) the criminal gang, usually predatory mobile gangs involved in armed robbery, kidnapping and some kinds of drug trafficking; (b) the criminal syndicates cater to a specific segment of the population providing forbidden goods or services like drugs, sex and gambling; (c) criminal rackets extort money or business concessions from legitimate or illegitimate organizations including business and trade unions; and (d) criminal political machines. These types can overlap and any one criminal organization might be involved in one or all of these types.
Organized crime is difficult to eliminate for three main reasons: (a) Although individuals can be arrested and convicted, they can also be quickly replaced in the organization; (b) Although the criminal code penalizes individual acts or persons, is generally powerless to tackle the conspiracy of a permanent, sometimes international, well-structured organization; (c) As long as the public continues to demand certain services (such as gambling, drugs and prostitution) which are illegal or semi-legal, criminal entrepreneurs will find it profitable to employ the same techniques as industry in order to be profitable and efficient, which includes being efficient at avoiding prosecution. Techniques used include both the sound organization (usually on military lines with a chain of command up to the general staff) and the communications systems (international, national, local and field based) that effective operations require.
For legal professionals, the name Mafia is limited to the Sicilian organization known in the US as Cosa Nostra, itself only one of four such bodies in Italy.
Crime syndicates and gangs have been associated with many cities, territories, and countries. Chicago, Marseilles, Corsica, New York, Sicily, Naples, London, and Hong Kong share the characteristics of dense population. Some organizations, especially the Italian-American Mafia and Cosa Nostra, have perhaps received more publicity than others because of American motion pictures and novels. However, organized crime is not restricted to these countries: examples are the Chinese Tong societies, the Japanese Yakuza, the Hell's Angels of California, the Yardies of Jamaica, the Checens of Russia, the Cotronis of Canada, the Triads of Hong Kong and China, and the Colombian Medellin Cartel.
This dangerous and insidious sub-culture will be eliminated only when the larger community no longer accepts its presence and ceases to give it protection by looking the other way.
The label "mafia" is too readily applied to any slick wheeler-dealer or aggressive businessmen taking advantage of opportunities and loopholes, such as in eastern Europe. To brand all business and entrepreneurship in such difficult shifting conditions as virtually criminal, and to characterize everyone who buys, sells and trades as a member of some form of organized crime group, is simply self-defeating. Such prejudice ignores real achievements in getting goods distributed to points of sale and in creating markets where none had been before.