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Organized crime is a set of criminal activities carried out by organizations locally and globally. These groups receive financial profit and gain power through the creation and operation of illegal goods and services markets. The offenses often go beyond the national borders. The phenomenon of organized crime is not only about the commission of specific criminal acts, but the establishment of a group, maintenance, and organization of the criminal activity. In recent years, the frequency of organized crime has significantly increased in the world. This ominous trend is due to significant technological advancements, improved means of communication, and an unprecedented expansion of international business and transport. As a result, the crimes are not only expanding, but also becoming profitable. The main goal of illegal activities is to obtain profits.
However, income gained through the criminal activity cannot be considered the sole purpose and motive of organized crime. The leaders of organized crime groups seek to reach their objectives through cooperating with the government, business structures, and other parties. The actions of criminal organizations are focused on worsening socio-economic situation and fueling conflicts in some regions in the world.
Organized crime is an offense committed by organized groups and criminal organizations, which have their own structure and hierarchy. The communication with local and other officials allows these groups and entities to dominate in a particular area, gain revenues, and control internal and external markets by means of violence, intimidation, criminal fraud, bribery, and penetration in the economic and political affairs. This kind of crime imposes a significant burden on the society and should be identified as independent from both practical and theoretical perspectives. The danger of organized crime consists in the possibility of extending the territory of several states. In the current context, the globalization facilitates the process of convergence of different countries. The organized crime includes drug, human and firearm trafficking, smuggling of migrants, and money laundering. The paper seeks to examine organized crime, its features, motives, goals, causes, outcomes, and methods of combating it.
Features of Organized Crime
Organized crime is an offense committed in a professional manner by well-organized, clandestine, and protected from disclosure individuals. They may exist independently or as a part of more complex interregional or transnational criminal system. A fundamental feature of modern organized crime is that every criminal group commits a variety of offenses, and it is quite difficult to recognize the focus of criminal activity chosen by the offenders. Criminals also penetrate into the economic sphere of society and politics, particularly at the local and regional levels, as well as they engage in legal business. This is extremely dangerous phenomenon as organized crime is often fused with completely legal and seemingly law-abiding structures blurring the lines between criminal, non-criminal, moral, and immoral aspects. Therefore, many people find it difficult to recognize the way these complex structures function. As a result, such persons may sympathize with organized criminal groups without recognizing that they are dealing with dangerous offenders.
This merging is supported by the fact that famous individuals openly emphasize their closeness to organized crime, thereby confusing public view in terms of those perpetrators. The merger between organized crime and legal institutions poses a danger to the moral health of society. One of the distinguishing features of ethnic crime is the specialization of criminal activity. Ethnic groups are usually engaged in drug trafficking, market control, export of oil and oil products, as well as banking and manufacturing of counterfeit banknotes. Well-established trends related to the distribution of spheres of influence affect this activity directly. The specific features of the ethnic community play significant role in defining offenders’ further actions. There is also the ethno-social problem of organized crime. Common attributes that distinguish this kind of crime from others are self-perpetuation, regulations, strict rules, monopolism, limited membership, absence of political goals, and hierarchical structure. The constitution of organized criminal group goes as a unique subculture. The offenders widely use illegal violence and bribery focusing on the specialization and labor division.
Motives and Goals of Organized Crime
The issues of opportunity, monetary and political motives force perpetrators to act illegally and engage in organized crime.In order to reach the set objective, such methods as intimidation, threat, violence, and murder are widely used.The main objective of consolidating and driving force is to get profit despite obstacles and their illicit origin. The ethnic crime is a distinguished form of organized crime committed by persons of the same nationality or people from one region; they are combined into an organized group or criminal organization.
It exists mostly due to several reasons that have political, economic, social, and demographic roots, and it includes a set of specific crimes committed by citizens of different countries. In general, the ethnic crime is characterized by a constant increase in the number of committed offenses, expansion of illegal professional activities in various regions of the country, the emergence of such crimes as drug trafficking, terrorism, human trafficking and others, depending on the level of crime migration and the impact of transnational organized crime.
Causes of Organized Crime
Organized crime exists mostly in democratic, not totalitarian countries. The main reason of this fact is that the totalitarian state will never tolerate the organization, which was not created by its officials. The economic and social contradictions in the era of changes and the process of globalization are the main reasons for the development of organized crime links and creation of the criminal environment in different countries.
As a result, their international integration and transformation into transnational organized crime have become widely spread in recent years. Therefore, due to weak criminal justice system and numerous changes that have occurred in the world, many countries are faced with considerable difficulties in the field of crime prevention. New socio-economic realities, technological advances, crises, and recessions, the formation of open markets and free trade, democratization, institutional reforms have all led to the emergence of new forms and types of criminal activities including transnational organized crime. It stimulates the growth of crime trends and the political instability caused by the transformation and conflicts. The most prominent examples are the countries undergoing significant changes in their political and economic affairs. Therefore, the main causes of transnational organized crime are technological progress and globalization. The last concept leads to the erosion of political borders and opening up markets that were previously closed or tightly regulated by internal state system. The evolution and deregulation of markets have led to the formation of multinational trading corporations, which are almost impossible for the state to regulate. Therefore, the globalization creates the conditions for the emergence of new and broader forms of crime, the transnational one in particular.
The penetration of organized crime across national boundaries, the merger of criminal organizations in various countries, and the creation of cross-border criminal corporations and communities are mostly facilitated due to the legislative and policymaking shortcomings. Here, the fundamental circumstance is significant difference in the level of economic development in the world. Political and other conflicts arising in many regions of the world generate a wave of violence and stimulate illegal trade in arms, human trafficking, mercenary activities, and other international crimes. Due to various legal frameworks in different countries, many cross-border criminal operations are carried out with almost no risk to launder criminally acquired capital. The difference in the criminalization of certain types of offenses and low regulation of procedural cooperation in criminal proceedings also prevent the officials from combating organized crimes properly. The penetration of organized groups into the power structures establishes the branched corrupt ties, thereby easing the illegal activity of the transnational criminal corporations. The corruption promotes integration of these entities not only at the national level but also at the level of several states and the formation of transnational organized crime in all its forms. In this kind, the corruption, as well as the transnational crime, becomes a distinct feature of security threats to individual states and the world community as a whole. Due to this issue, the international organizations, primarily the United Nations, start paying close attention to the issues and problems related to the corruption and bribery practice among high governmental positions.
Outcome of Organized Activity
The outcome of organized activity can be divided into the local and global one. At the local level, organized criminal groups seek to reach the main objective, i.e., to achieve excess profits and to destruct competitors. The global consequences of organized crime are important for the society as a whole. These aspects, in turn, are divided into positive and negative ones. The negative effects of organized crime undermine the viability of various companies, increase the population’s mortality rate, instill fear, hinder the development of economic reforms in the long run, and increase the risk of state’s disintegration. There are slight positive consequences that organized crime can bring: public awareness that the country needs changes and deep transformation, spiritual renewal, repentance, humanization of education, political and social progress, and compliance with the rule of law. The creation of a competitive economy, in which spiritual and material resources will be used effectively, is also crucial nowadays. Finally, the roots and the possibility of significant restrictions of organized crime should be properly analyzed and addressed by the competent authorities. These issues include the economic regionalization, ethnic tensions, and weak law enforcement.
Methods of Combating Organized Crime
Current social tensions in the society, the crisis in the economy, politics, social life, and the reduction of governing bodies’ authority significantly affect the growth of offenses and increase the degree of public danger in terms of certain types of crimes. Such organized crimes as inter-ethnic conflicts and terrorism, accompanied by the loss of innocent lives and acts of vandalism and violence, are particularly dangerous nowadays. Due to inadequate methods of dealing with this global issue, organized criminal groups get more profit, and they are not afraid of punishment. Therefore, in order to properly combat organized crimes, it is crucial to effectively fight the corruption. It is widely believed that increase in officials’ salaries will not resolve the economic difficulties and organized crime. Instead, it is important to ensure that wages do not fall below the level that ensures decent living. As the government is not able to give their employees more money than organized crime, this issue will still persist. Law enforcement’s work in this area is complicated because the police officers are strongly affected by criminals who are susceptible the corruption. The most effective way to fight the corruption is to create conditions preventing its occurrence and development. Organized crime can impact an individual or law enforcement agency by hindering their activity. In this case, the state authorities find it difficult to adopt a law in the field of state control.
Another effective way to fight corruption is to check the acquisition of property by officials. The social and legal control will also help to effectively fight bribery in various spheres of life. The international experience shows that the fight against corruption is often prevented due to significant prevalence of corruption offenses, limited resources, and specific limitations of criminal law opportunities. Operational difficulties in identifying and criminal procedure proving the facts of bribery are also prevalent nowadays. The lack of adequate preventative measures that will impose criminal liability and punishment only exacerbate current situation. The experts from different countries believe that the solution of these problems may lead to the development of adequate methods of combating crimes including the establishment of specific social and legal control over income sources and supervision of financial and other activities. Individuals suspected of corruption should be detained, and, in case their guilt is proved, they have to be severely punished, thereby serving illustrative as examples to other violators. Basically, such control is carried out in certain state bodies and public organizations where individuals are legally granted the governmental authority. These parties have to be monitored and checked for the compliance with specific requirements, rules, and regulations. The reports of detected deviations should be made regularly in order to bring the perpetrators to liability in time. Social and legal control as a means of fighting corruption was one of the greatest achievements of American and Japanese law- and policymakers.
Organized crime is a form of crime characterized by the groups’ engagement in illegal activities. These criminal networks have hierarchical structure, material and financial base. They may also cooperate with the government by establishing the relationship based on corruption mostly. The primary cause of organized crime development may include the following processes: the relationship between the leaders and members of organized criminal groups and the representatives of legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government, business, commerce, media, and culture.
The state’s inability to protect numerous basic constitutional rights and interests of citizens and society and the cultivation of the market ideas and private property without appropriate legal provision delay the adoption of fundamental laws designed to fight against organized crime and corruption, impoverishment, and legal nihilism of the population. Moreover, a smooth transition to the market is also hindered. Lobbying for the interests of individual groups of responsible officials pursuing selfish purposes will only aggravate current situation.
The objective conditions of criminality in modern times are the organizational deficiencies of legal and technical nature, while the subjective ones include demographic, social, and psychological characteristics of the population. Drug trafficking is one of the main activities carried out by organized criminal groups. In order to strengthen the cooperation in combating the pervasive influence of organized crime and drug trafficking, the global organizations are working closely with governments, international organizations, and civil society.