The Major Problems Related to Organized Crime
Controlling organized crime constitutes one of the key functions of the legal system and society in general. The reason is that organized crime threatens the basic social institutions and contributes to the spread of criminal activities in all spheres of national economy. Therefore, it is crucial to comprehend the actual risks associated with organized crime and implement the corresponding interventions. It seems that the proper coordination of all parties involved can allow minimizing the level of organized crime in the long run.
This paper specifies the major problems related to organized crime and proposes a realistic solution to the identified challenges.
The various relationships established by organized crime groups create numerous problems for the modern society:
- First, they lead to the unprecedented growth of aggression in all spheres of life (Karakaya & Kahya, 2014). Organized crime groups try to focus on those activities that may generate the highest revenues for them and they disregard all relevant ethical or moral principles. Correspondingly, the fraction of non-violent and mutually beneficial interactions in society tend to decline.
- Second, organized crime groups contribute to the spread of illegal drugs and other illegal goods or services (Ratcliffe, Strang, & Taylor, 2014). Moreover, they effectively utilize their power and violent methods to impose their will on other people (Karakaya & Kahya, 2014). As a result, the number of drug users and other people consuming their services can be much higher in comparison with the situation when people can make their own free independent choices.
- Third, organized crime groups lead to the misuse of power by various government officials. They want to receive some implicit support from them as well as obtain artificial privileges in the sphere of their interest.
- Fourth, organized crime activities affect even the legitimate spheres of business activities. The reason is that many individuals involved in criminal activities have to participate in money laundering to misrepresent the actual sources of their incomes.
As a result, they affect the price structure in many legitimate industries and influence the flows of financial and other resources. In particular, people involved in organized crime activities are especially interested in those enterprises that use cash as a payment method. For this reason, many night clubs, dance halls, and similar organizations are controlled by the members of various criminal organizations.
Thus, organized crime groups try to establish various types of relationships to maximize their overall efficiency:
- The first type of relationships is based on the use of force and violence. They may use these methods for dealing with competitors or apply them to those group members that violate the existing norms (Karakaya, & Kahya, 2014). However, even the most aggressive and powerful organized crime groups cannot operate relying exclusively on the use of force. The reason is that they have to involve a large number of people with different skills, and it requires other methods.
- The second type of relationships is corruption and other unofficial connections with government officials. Organized crime groups utilize effectively the existing illegal status of various industries. In particular, it allows them to charge higher prices for their products (for example, illegal drugs) and maximize their financial potential.
- The third type of relationships refers to quasi-legal activities that are performed by the members of organized crime groups to integrate into the rest of economy (Ratcliffe, Strang, & Taylor, 2014). The most effective organized crime groups are well-integrated into the overall society through different economic and legal mechanisms.
One of the major obstacles in dealing with organized crime groups is the existing legal limitations:
- First, different states have different legislation approaches towards dealing with various crimes. It creates additional opportunities for criminals to adjust their criminal strategies according to these disparities.
- Second, the existing federal laws and strategies focus on the explicit manifestations of the organized crime problems rather than their underlying reasons (Ratcliffe, Strang, & Taylor, 2014). For example, they try to minimize the illegal drug trafficking and distribution through introducing harsher punishments and a closer control over potentially criminal activities. However, the source of the problem (the illegal status of drugs and the unofficial relations with government officials and international criminal organizations) are not addressed properly. Therefore, organized crime groups do not experience substantial problems with avoiding the government’s sanctions.
- Third, the strategies pursued by law enforcement agencies are typically narrow, while the members of organized crime groups rely on much more complex approaches. It is observed in the ability of organized crime groups to utilize the latest technological achievements for planning or concealing their criminal actions (Ratcliffe, Strang, & Taylor, 2014). A large number of modern crimes include the combination of online and offline criminal activities.
Moreover, the members of organized crime organizations conceal the actual flows of monetary funds and other resources through cooperating with some legitimate businesses (Karakaya, & Kahya, 2014). Moreover, the owners of many such enterprises may be unaware of the criminal background of their partners. Therefore, the narrow approach demonstrated by law enforcement agencies does not allow comprehending the actual scope and structure of organized crime groups.
It seems that the following realistic solution may be proposed for minimizing the scope of organized crime groups. It is necessary to provide the universal and unambiguous definitions and classifications of major crimes at the federal level (Travaglino et al, 2014). For example, it is reasonable to legalize marijuana throughout the country to avoid the situations when it is legal in some states and illegal in others. It will allow economizing the government’s resources and direct them to those spheres where the scope of criminal activities is maximal. Some differences among states are necessary as they reflect the local and regional differences, but the general classification of crimes is necessary.
Moreover, it is important to increase the cooperation between the national and international law enforcement agencies. The essence of modern organized crime groups is such that they have strong international connections throughout the world. In particular, a drug trafficking ring is impossible without international efforts of various crime groups. If international cooperation among law enforcement agencies becomes more efficient in this sphere, it is possible to determine the ultimate schemes and routes used by criminals. Thus, prevention measures may become more efficient.
Another important element of reforms is the corresponding ideological support of law enforcement. All major organized crime groups pay the considerable attention to ideology (Travaglino et al, 2014). In this way, they tend to justify their criminal activities and even pretend to behave in a moral or just way. It is especially effective in relation to young people who lack the solid ethical background. Thus, the detailed explanation of the basic moral principles among the youth with the major focus on the inadmissibility of using all forms of violence is crucial for reducing the scope of criminal activities especially in the long run.
Finally, the law enforcement agencies should abandon the existing narrow approaches and try to comprehend the entire networks and systems of organized crime groups. Currently, even the most effective operations lead only to some reduction of criminal activities in some spheres while the entire network continues its functioning and expansion (Karakaya, & Kahya, 2014). In contrast, it is important to determine all key elements of criminal activities. In this way, it may become possible to neutralize the entire clusters of criminal activities in different cities and regions of the country.
All the above recommendations should be implemented in a consistent way. It means that all these measures should be integrated with one another, and the term of their realization should be minimal. The high-qualified experts should review the observed results and make timely suggestions about the potential adjustments that may be necessary. The major goal is maximizing the potential social benefits and minimizing the inevitable risks during the implementation of such activities. In general, the outlined plan is realistic as it focuses on the actual patterns of development revealed by modern organized crime groups. The proper implementation of this plan may be highly effective in the long run.
In conclusion, the continuous spreading of organized crime presents a substantial threat for all social members. It distorts the non-violent and mutually beneficial pattern of human activities. As a result, many individuals become involved in criminal or related operations. There are numerous social and economic problems associated with organized crime including the growing violence in society, corruption, and the growing fraction of illegal products and services. The current methods and strategies pursued at the federal level are highly inefficient, as they do not demonstrate the consistent and complex approach towards identifying the actual source of the problem.
Therefore, it is necessary to use the radically different strategy that includes several key elements. The federal government should provide the precise classification of crimes and avoid the situation when the same activities are considered legal in some states and illegal in others. The national law enforcement system should cooperate more closely with international organizations in this sphere. Moreover, all aspects related to organized crime groups should be examined and addressed in a complex way. It will increase the effectiveness of such measures. If all provided recommendations are realized in a consistent way, it will allow minimizing the scope of organized crime groups in the long run.