Criminality was given the tag "organized crime" when common crime is committed not through a one-man foray but by a group of conspiring hoods. This paper argues that organized crime has eluded accurate and clear-cut definition through the years because the problem is in a perpetual state of flux, such that certain characteristics or behaviors of criminal gangs today may be abandoned tomorrow.Organized crime is often called the “underworld,” referring to a group of criminals who run many illegal operations, including sale of dangerous drugs and automobile stealing. Based on standard definitions of organized crime, these groups amass illegal profits that are never taxed or recorded unless they are caught. The organization is made up of criminals who conspire to carry out illegal acts and thus requires a degree of trust among its members. Among the elements organized crime supposedly uses to promote such trust is common ethnicity.This definition cites examples of criminal organizations bound by ethnic ties such as the Italian, Latino, Irish, Asian, and Afro-American blacks in the US.However, this definition becomes inaccurate when applied to the Russian organized crime, whose nucleus is not attached to a common ethnic root but developed in Soviet prisons and the “nomenklatura” system in which some apparatchiks embarked on a life of crime by first establishing ties with thieves. (Finckenauer & Voronin, 2001).
The ethnicity angle is only one of the reasons why organized crime defies precise, generally accepted definitions (Abadinsky, 2003). Criminal groups are usually placed in this category when they are not motivated by ideological concerns like social doctrine or political beliefs but solely by money and power. But if such definition is followed to the letter, organized crime would then exclude such groups as terrorists and the Ku Klux Klan. This invites curiosity because the Ku Klux Klan and international terrorist groups like the al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya are as much involved in illegal, often violent acts that harm the innocent, which are the basic criteria in identifying organized crime. The other characteristics attributed to organized crime include