organized crime | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction / Policing

Organized crime is crime perpetrated by a group having some manner of a formalized structure and whose primary objective is to obtain money through illegal activities.

Organized crime refers to criminal activities carried out by groups that operate in a structured and hierarchical manner, often with a focus on making a profit through illegal means. These groups are often referred to as criminal organizations or gangs, and they may engage in a wide range of illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion, fraud, and human trafficking.

Structure of Organized Crime Groups

One of the defining features of such crime groups is their hierarchical structure, which is typically characterized by a leader or leaders at the top who oversees a network of subordinates. The structure may also include various levels of membership, such as “soldiers” or “associates,” who carry out the day-to-day activities of the group.

Types of Organized Crime

These groups are often involved in multiple illegal activities, and they may use violence, intimidation, and corruption to protect their operations and expand their territory. They may also engage in legitimate businesses to launder their profits and provide cover for their illegal activities.

The Scope of Organized Crime

The scope and influence of such groups vary widely depending on the group and the region in which they operate. Some groups are local or regional in nature, while others operate on a national or even international scale. In some cases, groups may have significant influence over local or even national governments, leading to concerns about corruption and the erosion of the rule of law.

Law Enforcement Response

Law enforcement agencies around the world work to combat organized crime through a variety of means, including surveillance, undercover operations, and prosecution. The use of sophisticated technology and cooperation among law enforcement agencies in different countries has increased in recent years in an effort to combat the global nature of many organized crime groups.

Overall, the impact of organized crime on society is significant, ranging from the immediate harm caused by violent crimes to the more insidious effects of corruption and the erosion of trust in institutions. Efforts to combat it require ongoing vigilance and cooperation among law enforcement agencies, as well as education and awareness among the public about the risks and impacts.

Learn More

On This Site

On Other Sites

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 07/11/2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.