Organized Crime: An Evolving Phenomenon that Defies Precise And Clear-Cut Universal Definition

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When any human activity repeatedly threatens the common good and begins to get out of hand, the objective is to put it up for closer inspection so that better understanding of its dynamics would help improve the capability of government to fight and prevent it.


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. ...
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