Organized Crime research papers reveal that the criminal element of "the mob" is still alive and well today. New research that has been written on organized crime by our writers tells of an evolution of organized crime from family run operations, like those found in the 1920's crime families, to highly sophisticated groups that span entire nations today.
Organized crime refers to the highly centralized and hierarchical structures employed by criminals in order to conduct illegal activity. In the United States, the 1970 Organized Crime Control Act defines it as the unlawful activities of a highly organized and disciplined association. For most, groups such as the Mafia or "The Mob" are representative of organized crime. Organized crime typically involves one or more traditional illegal activities, such as:
- Victimizing businesses through extortion
- Corruption of public servants
Organized Crime Networks
Criminal syndicates can be described in terms of several organizational structures. The Patron-client network sees smaller working units operating within a larger structure. Such groups tend to emphasize family units, entrenched traditions, and a fraternalistic value system. The Mafia as portrayed in the Godfather films or The Sopranos is representative of such patron-client networks.
Bureaucratic/corporate organizations have rigid internal structures and have a division of labor within the organization. The overall goal is focused on the success of the organization and they have top-down communications structures that dictate actions. Many drug cartels are built along such lines. Internal power struggles through violence frequently jeopardize the organization.