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4) SOC313 - Organzied Crime - Jan 30

SOC313 – Lecture Four – Jan 30th
Organized Crime in North America
● Provide legal good and services
● Infiltrate businesses
● Loan sharking, credit card fraud
● As opportunities change so does what they do
● La cosa nostra
o Hierarchy
o Clearly defined roles and positions
o Italian families
o Capacity to control criminal market, corrupt systems, control many unions, cartels,
own businesses and also hire people that pay taxes
o Use a lot of violence
o Hit hard by law enforcement, particularly in 70s
o Had to diversify
o Went into white collar crime and fraud
● Chinese transnational
o Fu-ching gang? Fukien? Fook ching
▪ Use violence
▪ Unfocused
o Relations b/t street gangs
o Adult organizations? Which are legitimate
● Canadian organized crime
o Multi ethnic groups
o Loosely connected networks
o b/t 600 and 900 known groups
o diversification
o identity, telemarketing, security fraud
o money laundering
o street gang involvement
● It’s a series of different groups
● No one monotheistic group
Extent in Canada
● Impact
o Public threat to safety
o Seen as a burden
o Can have violent and corrupting effect on cities in which they operate in
o Impacts healthcare
o Costs the CJS
o Leads to higher taxes
o Affect insurance premiums and banking fees
o When it infiltrates Construction companies
▪ Infrastructure ends of being less safe
● 78 billion, Canada’s black market
o 45 billion, or 57% is drug trafficking
● Cybercrime
Over span of a year
▪ According to Norton, MacAfee…. 7 million victim, costing 3 billion
▪ Govt said a hundred grand
Prevention becoming more difficult because their becoming more well-funded and doesn’t
have same jurisdictional issues
Police forced work within their area
Making money
● Vice, crime against moral standards
o Drugs, alcohol, porn, prostitution
● Racketeering
o Any activity that benefits criminal organization
o Can be service offered to solve problem
o Protection racket
o Labour
o Loan sharking, Extortion, being hired by companies
● Financial crime
o Money laundering
o Fraud
o Embezzlement
● Trafficking
o Move goods and/or people illegally
● Products
o Counterfeit goods
o Certain alcohol
o Animal product
o Endangered animals
● Cybercrime
o Identity crime
o Email scams
o Phishing, spoofing
● Legitimate business
o Front companies used to launder money
o Vice industry
▪ Gambling
▪ Casinos
▪ Brothels
o Bars and clubs
o Dock loading
o Construction
Defining organized crime
● State definition
o Rational system, self-perpetuating bureaucratic and corporate model
o Formal disciplined structure
o Organized crime hierarchy
▪ E.g. mafia
▪ One boss, clearly defined leadership
▪ Power goes from top to bottom
▪ Clear division of labour
▪ Strong social or ethnic identity
▪ Clearly defined territory
o Toronto police also has a hierarchy
o Network
o Lots of corruption, and organized groups corrupt officials
International definition
o Group of 3 or more people that was randomly formed, it exists for a period of time,
act together with the aim of committing one crime that is punishable by 4 years
(somewhere) and doing so in order to obtain some sort of benefit
o Comes from UN
o Very vague
o Can include crimes that are committed in more than one state
o You don’t necessarily know where your money is going to
Academic definition
o Idea that networks of individuals
o Social relationships, informal social structures, networks
o See organized crime groups as more flexible, change shape, adapt to market
condition, adapt to other social and political environments
o Provide illicit goods/services in order to make profit
o Corruption existed before organised crime
o Organized crime groups make use of that corruption, they don’t make it themselves
o Organized crime is integral to the society in which it operations, provides a function,
idea that if we didn’t want drugs they would exist
Achieving goals
Relationship with state
State definition
Formal, disciplined, hierarchical
Continuous and self-perpetuating
Provide illegal goods and services
for profit
Violence or threat of violence
Corrupts public officials
Academic definition
Networks, informal, relationships
Ephemeral, changing, adaptable
Provide illegal goods and services for
Integral to segments of society,
demand, social and political support
Makes use of existing corrupt relations
● Most organized crime groups not like mafia
● Networks, or some form of network, they’re loosely organized informal groups
● Hostile, uncertain environments
● Limited geographic scope
● Adaptive, short-lived
● Blending b/t illegal and legal profits
● Series of patron-client relationships
our conception of organized crime
came from Sicisiliy
o weak and ineffective govt
o people got together to look
after their own rights
o people in upper class didn’t
o so had to protect themselves
Transnational organized crime
● movement away from strict hierarchy
and public awareness
● criminal network
● more of a spectrum b/t hierarchy and
● only minority have rigid hierarchy,
most b/t 20 people
● Regional Hierarchy
● Clustered Hierarchy
● over 70% spread over 3 countries
● Core Group
● crossover b/t legitimate and illegitimate
● neo-liberalization almost facilitated organized crime and led to its growth
Cultural Theories
Alien conspiracy theory
● idea that it comes from outsiders
● Caused by influence of outsiders
● e.g blame Italian immigrants who came to America
● Hysteria and racial profiling
● Crime syndicates imported from other countries
● most organised crime groups are not multi-national
Individual Theories
Rational choice
● cost benefit analysis
● rewards of professional crime outweigh the risks
● Risk mitigation through corruption, reputation
● Hedonistic calculus
Social learning
Differential association and subculture
you learn how to become a criminal from those around you
Intimate interaction with criminal others
Views favourable to crime – sympathetic, status
Not long before this they were sterilizing criminal, because they thought it was genetic
Structural theories
● Look at motivation coming from social structure
Social disorganization
● When you live in an area with crumbling infrastructure and with limited resources can
become a forced path
● Deterioration of ecology of inner city
● Areas of high poverty, low employment, single parent household
● High mobility, low social control, resources, education, opportunity
● Bad school
● No healthcare
● No housing
● Certain groups will emerge to fill the gap left by the government
Anomie and strain
● Merton
● Disjunction between culturally proscribed goals and available means
● When society emphasized cultural role but limits access to those roles in causes strain
● People respond to strain through innovation
o Accept the goal but reject the means
● Turn to dishonest means to achieve their goals, i.e. criminality
Organizational Theories
Enterprise model
● Market dynamic and demand for goods/services
● Organised crime groups fulfilling that dynamic because govt will not
● Create it by having the need
● Hostile and uncertain environments
● Constrain size, complexity, formality
● Law enforcement policies, public attitudes
● Maps onto community
● Community as a social system
● Social units and systems which perform major relevant social functions
● 5 Functions
Production-Distribution-Consumption (PDC)
● Way to get around that is decriminalization
Business can benefit, they need to spend money somewhere
Failure of legitimate markets to serve community
Business and Organised crime groups can form together and create a business plan that can
actually work
Align with legitimate business for concealment, laundering, reportable legit income
Legit businesses
Illicit economy
Local Economy
● Community acceptance
● Organized crime not seen as an inherit evil, just part of everyday life
Social control
● Groups will try to seek accommodation with communities formal control entities
● Not always negative
● Studies have shown that permitting crime under certain circumstances, can actually lower
violent crime
● Kind of like a harm reduction approach
● There’s also corruption
o E.g bribing
Social participation
● Interface with community
● Respond to demand
● Interconnections with economic institutions
o Certain banks make a lot of money off of organized crime
o Some say money from Organized crime can help sustain banks
Mutual support
● Source of legitimate economic investment
● Functional role
● Opportunity, employment, retirement, housing, legitimate economic investment, needs
● Intricate interconnection
● Leads to durability
Case - human trafficking in Canada
● More people getting caught?