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Organized crime

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Organized crime is crime carried out in an organized fashion by formal criminal organizations. The Organized Crime Control Act[?] (US - 1970) defines organized crime as: "The unlawful activities of...a highly organized, disciplined association...". Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are politically motivated. Mafias are criminal organizations whose primary motivation is profit. Gangs sometimes become "disciplined" enough to be considered "organized".

Criminal organizations obviously keep most of their actions as secret as possible. Communication between members is primarily done through word of mouth.

Common activities (or "rackets") of criminal organizations include: drug trafficking, money laundering, prostitution, protection[?] and extortion.

In order for a criminal organization to prosper, some degree of support is required from the society in which it lives. Thus, it is often necessary to corrupt some of its respected members, which is most commonly achieved through bribery, blackmail, and the establishment of symbiotic relationships with legitimate businesses. Also, financing is made easier by the development of a customer base inside or outside the local population, as occurs for instance in the case of drug trafficking.

In addition, criminal organizations also benefit if there is social distrust of the government or the police. As a consequence, criminal organizations sometimes arise in closely-knit immigrant groups who do not trust the local police. Conversely, as an immigrant group begins to integrate into the wider society, this generally causes the organized crime group to weaken.

Lacking much of the paperwork that is common to legitimate organizations, criminal organizations can usually evolve and reorganize much more quickly when the need arises. They are quick to capitalize on newly-opened markets, and quick to rebuild themselves under another guise when caught by authorities.

Globalization occurs in crime as much as it does in business. Criminal organizations easily cross boundaries between countries. See for instance this article on transnational criminal organizations (http://www.tni.org/drugs/links/trncrorg.htm).

explain how and why criminal organizations appear, why people join them, how government and other organizations attempt to fight them

explain the influences of organized crime on politics

See Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), yakuza, triad



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