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Organized crime presents one of the biggest challenges to the global law enforcement agencies in the present times. This is partly attributable to the fact that the processes of globalization and technological advancement have contributed into collapsing the massive geographical distances between peoples of different countries of the world .The question at this stage is what entails the fluid concept of organized crime as conceptualized today?
Organized crime has definition that it is as a bid and powerful organization of criminals . Elsewhere, the term has also been defined as certain criminal activities, which are not only widespread, but are also having central coordination and control through a syndicate (Garner, 2004). A number of Federal statutes have also defined organized crime. Such statutes include Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
Organized crimes may be small scale within the village level or even large scale so much so that the same extends to the national level. Some of the most widely known organized crime syndicates in the world include the Mafia of the United States of America and the drug barons of Mexico (Jacobs, 2006). The problem of organized crime has no restriction to the Western countries as it extends to every corner of the globe. For instance, the problem is seen in Kenya through a group known as Mungiki and in Nigeria through the Boko Haram.
History of Organized Crime in the United States of America
The history of organized crime in the United States has been in existence for a long time. However, in its presently understood structure and form, the organization can be traced to the early twentieth century (Repetto, 2004). The present face of the United States’ organized crime is the Mafia. The term Mafia, also variously known in Italian as La Cosa Nostra (Our Thing), or the Mob, is an umbrella name which comprises various syndicate organizations within the city of Sicily and also in the United States (Finckenauer, 2007). In Italy, the group started off as a vigilante for security owing to their mistrust of the Spanish occupation of the island (ibid).
The security vigilante later engaged in organized crime, which practice the, Italian immigrants imported to the United States during their immigration in the early 20th century. The Italian immigration into the United States thus marked the establishment of the contemporary organized crime within the country. This is because the Italian immigrants, owing to the mutual suspicion between them and the Americans, resorted to using the mafia vigilante for their security.
Contemporary Challenges of Organized Crime
The problem of organized crime is one of the most critical challenges to the various law enforcement agencies in the world over (Miller Jr, 1963). The question that may be posed at this point is why this is so? Various reasons have bee advanced to explain this phenomenon. For instance, authors have identified a number of reasons as being responsible for the difficulties experienced towards mounting effective prosecution against organized criminal syndicates.
These include; the effective organization, the attendant skills of the syndicates, and use of complex business transactions. Seemingly, it appears to be normal business operations to veil illegal acts like, criminal activities, the closed nature of the criminal outfits, and lack of witnesses to testify against the suspects. This is so, owing to the culture of conspiracy of silence among the syndicates, as well as, the control held by the racketeers, over the law enforcement officers.Today, some other reasons that may be included to this list include the level of the world’s technological advancement and the enhanced globalization (ibid).
One of the challenges that impeded the federal government’s fight against organized crime is the fact that the states have always assumed the primary responsibility on the fight against crime. As a result, there were no concerted and coordinated efforts in the fight against the crime across all the states. However, given the dynamics that have characterized the contemporary organized crime, the Federal Government has come into the fight much more aggressively than was the case previously.
As a result, the Federal Government has caused the enactment of various legislations to help in the fight. Such legislations include the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, Justice System Improvement Act of 1979, Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Besides, the Federal government enacted the Patriots Act to help in the fight against terrorism. The Federal government has extended this fight against the organized crime onto the world stage through the adoption of the nine Special Resolutions for the combating the terrorist financing through the Financial Action Task Force.
In conclusion, there a submission that the greatest challenge on the fight against organized crime is the very fluid nature of such crimes. For instance, such crimes have metamorphosed and no longer carry the traditional face. Today, organized crimes range from international terrorism to cyber stalking. The Federal laws, must thus be restructured to cope with the new challenges since, these challenges are not only real, but extend much further than may actually be admitted.