Andrew Feinstein and Paul Holden
This essay provides a brief overview of arms trafficking, its participants and enabling partners, and the prospects of a reduction in arms trafficking through various legal mechanisms. It looks at two prominent arms traffickers—Viktor Bout and Leonid Minin—to illustrate these discussions. The trade in arms becomes arms trafficking when the deals undertaken violate existing laws on the movement of arms. These laws usually take the form of domestic licensing requirements or international arms embargoes. Arms trafficking is a complex multifaceted crime, and it can involve numerous discrete crimes over and above breaking arms sanctions, including, but not limited to, fraud, corruption, money laundering, smuggling, intimidation, and murder. Arms trafficking is undertaken in the context of the global trade in arms, made up of the formal world of legal trade and the “shadow world” of illegal transactions. Often actors operate in both worlds, and both can be mutually supportive in various ways. The number of collaborators involved in assisting arms traffickers means that successful prosecution of these traffickers is incredibly rare: of more than 500 United Nations arms embargo violations, only one participant has ever been convicted. The prospects for an end to arms trafficking are bleak. Not only are existing legal mechanisms flimsy, there seems to be little political will to develop an international framework that would help legal authorities pursue law-breakers. In addition, many countries are already awash in arms, providing ample opportunity for individuals to easily establish themselves as arms traffickers.
This chapter explores the evolution of concepts and definitions relating to criminal organization since 1750. Terms such as the “underworld,” “organized crime,” and “professional crime” have increasingly become part of the criminal justice lexicon in the modern period. However, while there has been a strong tradition of criminological and sociological investigation into the structures and hierarchies of syndicated crime and street gangs in the first half of the twentieth century, much of this work has been dominated and implicitly shaped by North American contexts. The hidden nature of such criminal activity means that most attention has been paid to those offenders whose recidivism and notoriety brought them into public disrepute. Thus, historians’ investigations into organized crime have been characteristically limited. This chapter provides a broader overview of the historical chronologies and geographies of the “underworld” and explores the key historical studies into the organization of crime in the modern period.
The author draws on findings from several empirical research projects in this essay, which presents an overview of the traditional Chinese organized crime groups and the newly established criminal networks by examining the history, structure, and activities of these groups and networks in Asia and the United States. Next, it examines the link, if any, among these Chinese groups and networks, with groups and networks of other ethnic origin, and with civil and state institutions in their respective societies. It also discusses the problems and prospects of controlling Chinese organized crime. Finally, the essay discusses the future of Chinese organized crime, focusing on the emergence of a new generation of Chinese who are involved in transnational crime. This essay argues that, in fact, no monolithic, worldwide criminal organization called the Chinese Mafia, with headquarters somewhere in Asia, exists.
Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo and Peter Grabosky
This essay considers how information and communications technologies (ICT) are used by organized crime groups. Three categories of groups are identified: traditional organized criminal groups, which make use of ICT to enhance their terrestrial criminal activities; organized cybercriminal groups, which operate exclusively online; and organized groups of ideologically and politically motivated individuals (including state and state-sponsored actors), who make use of ICT to facilitate their criminal conduct. We feel that it is important to draw a distinction between these types of organized criminal groups, particularly when formulating cybersecurity policy, because cybercriminality is not a monolithic threat. The article will note the transnational nature of much organized criminal activity and will discuss mechanisms for the control of organized crime in the digital age.
This essay examines the variation in relationships between drug market enterprises and organized crime across different levels of the market, countries, and drugs (cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine). For example, marijuana markets in Europe are generally characterized by small organizations with little connection to any but the broadest concept of organized crime. On the other hand, trafficking of heroin in Tajikistan is dominated by highly structured organized crime groups with strong connections to the political system. It may well be that, without central and effective corrupt government involvement, drug markets are likely to be fragmented and competitive. Organized crime dominance probably reflects more generally the failure of government rather than drug market specific factors.
The European Union’s policy on organized crime evolved over the years from a vague unease about this problem around 1990 into a rather comprehensive and coherent set of strategies and measures. The programs on security, freedom, and justice that are linked to the important changes in the Treaty on the European Union have played an important role in this ongoing development: the Tampere Programme, the Hague Programme, and the Stockholm Programme. These programs furthered the development of an increasingly common legal framework in the member states, the creation of a number of mutual assistance mechanisms, and the establishment of institutions like Europol and Eurojust in order to deal in a more effective manner with the cross-border manifestations of organized crime.
Antonio La Spina
Cosa Nostra, the ˜Ndrangheta, and the Camorra have their headquarters in Italy. In the past 30 years, Italian policies against the Mafia have developed steadily and are now deemed a best practice all over the world. The most relevant anti-Mafia legislation was adopted as a result of homicides and attacks of criminal organizations against the state. However, in the past years, anti-mafia measures have no longer been reactions to such events. The trend is toward creating a system of anti-Mafia instruments and defining it as a distinctive subsector of security policies. This essay discusses the measures taken (those that directly address and repress criminals and their organizations, and then those that instead address the citizenry, entrepreneurs, professionals, public administration, and, only indirectly, the Mafia itself), presents the institutions involved in the fight against the Mafia, and, finally, sketches an assessment of the overall efficacy of Italian anti-mafia policies.
The essay provides an analysis of financial strategies of organized crime control, including their development from a traditional, vaguely moral concept (“crime should not pay”) to a targeted, functional concept with a strong focus on organized crime (with its particular phenomenological and criminological patterns). Strongly linked to money laundering control, the different models of forfeiture and confiscation developed to become a prime component of organized crime control. In the meantime, the concept has been continuously broadened and adapted to tackle other areas of crime, such as economic crime, tax crime, and terrorism. The sections address all relevant elements of such financial strategies of organized crime control, focusing in particular on: (section II and III) an explanation of their origins, purposes, and conceptual approaches, (section IV) an overview of international actors and instruments that promote and define the field, and (section V) a comparison of different models and strategies of implementation into national legislation. Furthermore, section VI discusses controversies with respect to human rights restraints as well as concerns resulting from problematic practices of seizure and confiscation, concluding with section VII, an outlook on future developments arising from the ongoing broadening into new areas of application and the development of aggravated instruments.
Scott H. Decker and David Pyrooz
This essay places gangs in the broader context of organized criminal groups, including transnational organized crime, drug smuggling networks, human trafficking operations, and terrorist groups. In doing so, it assesses the similarities and differences in the organizational and structure features of gangs in relation to other criminal groups. Based on the authors’ review, they arrive at two conclusions. First, gangs make unattractive partners for organized criminal groups because of their informal and diffuse organizational structure, public and street-oriented exposure, and expressive and cafeteria-style rather than instrumental and specialized offending patterns. Second, it is inappropriate to conclude, due to their limited organizational structure, that gangs are an association of criminals as opposed to a criminal association. While gangs exert little control over their members and lack the coordination that characterizes other groups, group processes found within gangs make them a durable component of urban life.
Dick Hobbs and Georgios A. Antonopoulos
Despite the challenges, the study of organized crime has developed rapidly in the past 20 years in both quantitative and qualitative terms. The purpose of this essay is to provide an overview of the methods and approaches used in researching organized crime and organized crime–related issues. After the Introduction, section II focuses on official data and accounts (including interviews with public officials). Section III deals with quantitative and economic analyses, section IV with historical/archival research, and section V with network analyses. Section VI focuses on ethnographic studies, and section VII on interviewing offenders, consumers/clients, and victims of organized crime. Although the research that has been conducted into this subject cannot be reviewed in its entirety, this essay offers some good examples that typify methodologies associated with the aforementioned genres of research, as well as the problems and limitations that accompany them.