Free «The Rise of Organized Crime» Essay Sample


Organized crime is considered to be one of the major problems of the modern society. In the modern globalized world the borders are being destroyed. Thus, there is some fear that the borders between criminal activities in different countries will disappear as well and people will find themselves in the world united by the organized crime activity. In fact, people are already facing this international scope of illegal actions, especially in the sphere of terrorism and human trafficking. Consequently, the borders have already been destroyed.

It is impossible to understand the development of criminal organizations and organized crime taken as a whole without clear understanding of the notion. The definition of organized crime and the complications in the process of defining this phenomenon are explored in the beginning of the analysis, followed by the study of different forms of organized crime depending on the country.

This study also presents a historical perspective on the development of organized crime throughout the world. The main regions explored in this study are South America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and there is a special focus on the development of organized crime in the United States. This separate attention was paid due to the unusual conditions of the United States, in which the local organized crime has risen in many different forms.

The main focus of the study is the development of organized crime throughout history as well as its future perspectives. Despite the fact that organized crime has decreased in the beginning of the 21st  century and the focus of law enforcement agencies has been relocated to the terrorist activities, the organized crime was developing and adjusting to the new world conditions. The criminal organizations have crossed the borders and began their development on the global scale.

As the future global scope of organized crime is the secondary theme of this research, special attention will be given to the current activities of organized crime syndicates on the international level. Particularly, two major elements of the international activity of criminal organizations are human trafficking and international terrorism. Therefore, the role of criminal syndicates in the given process is explored in this research.

Some attention is being paid to the current law enforcement and legislation that are focusing on the organized crime. It is crucial that along with national legislation, there are already numerous international organizations and agreements that are aimed at coping with organized crime. This is another confirmation of the criminal world’s tendency towards globalization.

Literature Review

One should take into consideration the fact that the existence of organized crime as a form of illegal activity was recognized in the first half of the twentieth century. Since that time researchers in various fields began their studies in the field of organized crime. Various researchers have conducted studies in psychology, sociology, criminal science, jurisprudence, etc. Despite the variety of approaches, this study is focused on the inter-disciplinary approach to organizational crime.

The major complication in the study of organized crime that is noted by many researchers is complexity of the definition of this phenomenon (Blakey, 2009). The researchers all agree on the fact that although criminal organizations were described many times by various researchers, in fact, none was able to provide any definition of these organizations (Hagan, 1983). The issue seems to be too complex and inter-disciplinary to agree upon one definition. Therefore, instead of clearly defining the criminal organization this paper will review the existing definitions and their variety.

Historical approach is in the basis of this study, therefore various kinds of literature on the appearance and development of criminal organizations were reviewed in order to comprise general picture of the development of criminal organizations. The majority of researches on the development of criminal syndicates are devoted to the study of the US illegal organizations with the special focus of American-Italian Mafia (Abadinsky, 2010). Although this pattern might create some additional complications, some studies conducted over the past decade shift the focus from the United States to criminal organizations worldwide. This change of the study sphere has created a number of very interesting literary works that  both are up-to-date and contain very interesting information.

Almost each piece of the work that studies the development of organized crime also focuses on the crime-combating methods. Therefore, there is the possibility to explore not only the history of criminal world but also the development of law enforcement organizations, groups and strategies. The most recent changes in domestic and international law enforcements can be accessed in the same documents that describe the development of organized crime.

The latest tendencies in the criminal literature show the growing interest in the development of organized crime in the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries. As a result, more researches are focused on the connection between terrorism and organized crime after the events of 9/11 and the increased attention to terrorist activities. Another tendency in the criminal studies is the focus on the global scale of criminal organizations and special attention paid to trans-national criminal activities.

Overall, the modern state of the criminal research field provides a wide variety of studies on history, sociology and psychology of criminal organizations. It has become a truly inter-disciplinary study, which can provide a person with knowledge from different perspectives and approaches. Therefore, the current level of studies in the sphere of criminal organizations provides sufficient background for the research.


In this study organized crime is approached from a number of different perspectives. At first the author utilizes various theories on the definition of organized crime in order to identify the subject of the following research. Some particular elements of the organized criminal organizations are defined in the first part of the presented research. This part of the analysis is based on the existing studies in criminal theory. After the definition of theoretical framework the author moves to closer study of the organized crime development in the modern world.

This research study utilized a multinational approach to organized crime and does not focus on the criminal syndicate development in one particular state. This trans-national approach creates the background to further study of the globalization tendencies in organized crime. Moreover, this approach gives the researcher the possibility to see the patterns of organized crime formation and development in different states and define some common conditions that have led to the expansion of criminal entities.

Through the study of the role of organized crime in terrorism and trafficking the author makes the first steps towards the global scope of organized crime. These two forms of criminal activity have become the first ones  actively to cross the borders and, thus move criminal activity on the super-national level. Therefore, only through the understanding of terrorism and trafficking as criminal activities the author will be able to see the whole picture of organized crime on international scale.

The global scale of criminal activities is analyzed in terms of current tendencies in the sphere. Various approaches to the idea of global organized crime are presented in this part of the research. A special focus is given to the reasons of new tendencies in organized crime in order to define what has caused  new rise of the organized crime in the modern world.

Lastly, the paper describes the existing crime-fighting methods on both national and international levels, and the tendencies of their development. Through the development of crime-fighting institutions and organizations the researcher has the possibility not only to define the tendencies in crime prevention activities but also to see the successful methods and practices that already exist in crime prevention.


At some point it was considered that the crime-fighting efforts of various countries should be shifted from organized crime to the new priorities, such as terrorism. But about five years ago the countries realized that criminal activities have moved to a new trans-national scale and, thus the attention has to be returned to activities of the organized criminal groups.

This research focuses on the development of organized crime all over the world and its recent tendency to turn into the global criminal community. Through the study of different tendencies in  emergence and development of organized crime it will be possible to determine the future prospects of the organized crime development and define the ways of coping with them.


Definition of organized crime

Organized crime is the complex notion and it is quite complicated to state one definition of this form of crime. For many years researchers have been trying come up with one common statement of what ‘organized crime’ is. But, despite all the efforts, the search for consensus on the definition continues. This happens because each researcher and scientist has own perception of organized crime and, thus defines it in a personal, biased way. Therefore, despite all the numerous studies of the phenomenon, there is still no common definition, although the issue was described and discussed many times (Hagan, 1983).

It is truly significant that even those organizations that proclaim their strong position against organized crime are not able to provide a clear definition of the phenomenon. For example, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice could not come up with a clear statement of what organized crime is (Blakey, 2009, p. 3). And the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime provides a description of an organized group as “…a structured group of three or more persons existing for a period of time and acting in concert with the aim of committing one or more serious crimes or offences in accordance with this Convention in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit” (cited in Morrison, 2002). But this definition is too broad, as it does not provide any ideas on the forms of criminal activities that the organized crime group members might conduct.

The complication with clear and unified definition of organized crime can be easily explained. The perspective from which scientists look at organized crime has the major influence on their perception of the phenomenon. The common mistake of all researchers is the desire to define the notion of “organized crime” only in the terms of their own science (Hagan, 1983, p. 52). Those looking from the perspective of sociology or anthropology define it as a “social system” rather than a form of organization (cited in Blakey, 2009, p. 2). Researchers in the sphere of organizational theory study of criminal organizations from the point of labor division and law specialists define ‘organized crime’ as  “conspiracy to commit a crime” (Blakey, 2009, p. 3). Wide public or the syndicate members would obviously have their own definitions of the phenomenon.

If one moves away from any of the scientific perspectives, there are common features that can be used to describe the idea of organized crime. For example, Morrison (2002) proposes three short elements that can be united to define the phenomenon: “the activities being undertaken have a strong economic imperative; the offences are of “major significance” and the groups (involving no less than two or three individuals) are enduring in nature.” This is still a very vague definition, which can be questioned. Despite that, this short description of organized crime can give an average person an idea of what organized crime consists  but being not limited to.

While studying the phenomenon of organized crime, researchers usually focus on crime groups. For example, it has already been stated that a lot of studies were conducted on the Cosa Nostra as a separate crime group. At the same time the new studies start to develop alternative approaches to the subject of their research. There are already some works that focus on the dynamics of the “organized crime markets” thanks to which these syndicates are able to function and even be prosperous, while other scientists study various forms of activities that exist in the organized crime (Morrison, 2002).

Blakey (2009) defines three types of criminal organizations: enterprises, syndicates and ventures. They differ in terms of operations and form of functioning. An enterprise provides on a regular basis various illegal goods and services. A syndicate is an organization with larger variety of activities than an enterprise and a huge number of functions. Syndicates, for example, can regulate relations among enterprises. Finally, a venture is a separate criminal episode that is initiated by a criminal group for profit.

The rise of organized crime in different countries

In the modern world people are aware of different forms of organized crime. Along with the variety of forms, there are also criminal syndicates that are located in different countries or regions. Although each independent state might have its own organized syndicates, there are some strong groups that define the whole regions. These are Latin America syndicates, which are most famous for their drug business; Russian and Eastern European mafia, which has rapidly developed after the fall of the Soviet Union; Asian Mafia with most famous Chinese and Japanese groups; African organized crime that mostly focuses drugs and firearms, and the variety of the US criminal organizations.

Despite the common belief that organized crime is the phenomenon of the 20th century, the history of this phenomenon is much longer. There are many historical documents that have recorded the actions of crime gangs in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Morrison, 2002). In the United States the history of organized crime begins in the 19th century with the mobs of New York and San Francisco (Blakey, 2009, p. 16).

The main boom of organized crime in the United States falls on the 30th years of the twentieth century, the time of Prohibition (Finklea, 2009, p. 4). It has also been the first time when policy makers have shifted their focus to the new form of criminal activity. The US organized crime has further developed in the 1950s and 60s when gambling became the main focus of the organized crime activities. Later, the focus of organized crime has extended to drug trafficking, bootlegging, prostitution and a number of other spheres.

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Although Africa is a large continent, the history of the second part of the 20th century and beginning of the new millennium has been more or less similar for all the African states. After the decolonization in the middle of the 20th century all the countries have experienced a "golden age” of their development. But at the same time, along with democracy, violence was spreading throughout the territory. The 1970s are widely considered to be the time when organized crime has risen in Western Africa, as many people had to look for illegal ways for supporting own lives (The UN Office on Drugs and Crime, 2005). This is also connected with the massive migration between countries that has happened in the region. The opportunities for international migration have also stimulated the development of organized crime in the region. All in all, the overall instability in all the countries has stimulated the rapid development of organized crime.

The destruction of the USSR and disappearance of the Soviet Block have become a huge stimulus for the development of organized crime. The countries of the Soviet Block were financially unstable, lacked strong political power, were not ready for the capitalist world and lacked internal control systems (Pradhy, 2006, p. 26). As a result, the majority of countries were penetrated by criminal organizations, which quickly took over the power in these post-Soviet states. Therefore, criminal syndicates became the governing bodies of some of the Eastern European states. Therefore, mafia in those countries is very strong.

One might falsely assume that the time of organized crime is ending and it gives space to  new forms of illegal activity, such as cybercrime and terrorism. But in fact, with  new tendencies towards globalization the organized crime has only got stronger and massively extended its sphere of operations and territory of activity. This new stage in the development of organized crime is so significant that the US Organized Crime Council has been re-established for the first time of over the past 15 years (Finklea, 2009, p. 2).

Reasons for the development of organized crime

There are numerous theories that try to define the reasons and causes for  rise of organized crime. Anomie suggests that a psychological basis for criminal activity is the gap between high social expectations and limited opportunities; behavioral psychologists say that criminal behavior is learned in closed groups and the subcultural theory supports this idea; one more theory defines that the bond between individuals and the society should be either very weak or broken in order to make a person become a criminal (Abadinsky, 2010, p. 38).

Pradhy (2006) states that there are some conditions that should definitely precede  rise of organized crime. One of the most important ones is the support from the society, which includes both the tolerance of criminal activity from the majority and the corruption of a number of the high society members. The main interests of the criminals are those in legislature, police, and judiciary system.

The overall decline of a community always leads to the growth of crime rates and the consequent formation of illegal organizations. Sanchez-Jankowski (2003, p. 197) states that the physical decline of a community stimulates the growth of crime rates, and poverty and economic instability are bigger stimuli for the development of organized crime than the lack of proper social organization. Therefore, the dissatisfaction on the level of basic needs plays a significant role for the development of criminal syndicates.

Later in this paper, the variety of criminal organizations in the United States will be described and analyzed. The peculiarity of all the organizations is that their members belong to different minority groups. In fact, this is common situation. Minorities usually have a law level of trust to the law enforcement, which is very beneficial for rise of organized crime. With the integration of the small national group in the wider society the strength of criminal organization decreases. Currently the ethnic succession theory is the only one that is able to describe the reasons for organized crime groups. The closed ethnic groups, which are usually disadvantaged before the integration in the society, give a chance to climb up the “success ladder” (Abadinsky, 2010, p. 38). And this possibility to achieve success is appreciated by many despite the fact that the path is illegal.

A criminal organization is a form of a business institution. But, on the contrary to the existing enterprises, these illegal syndicates avoid all the paper work and bureaucracy. This gives the criminal organizations a chance to develop faster than any business entity. They are very flexible and adaptable. As it is seen from the example of the post-Soviet states, criminal syndicates develop much faster than democratic institutions.  

The nature of the criminal world itself creates the background for the development of organized crime. Within dangers and instability of the illegal business organizations give their members  possibility to unite and cooperate in order to increase own chances for survival (Abadinsky, 2010).

Differences between national crime syndicates

Although the Mob in the USA is considered to be the classical local form of organized crime, in fact the criminal structure of Northern America is very complicated. The main reason for this complexity is the immigrant nature of the United States. People that came from different countries brought not only their culture and traditions but also own criminal structures and syndicates. As a result, currently the US criminal world consists of a number of criminal entities. Blakey (2009) defines eleven different groups that exist in the United States: American Italian Mafia,  Cosa Nostra; motorcycle gangs, such as the Outlaws or the Hell Angels; Mexican Mafia; the Triads and the Tongs, which are Chinese criminal societies; Vietnamese gangs, Japanese Yakuza, different Cuban organized outlaw groups, Colombian cocaine syndicates, Irish organized groups, Russian mafia and Canadian organized groups (p. 8). Each of these groups within the USA has its own peculiarities, as well as that they differ from country to country. The difference is also in the time when these groups were established. Cosa Nostra was established in the 30th years of the twentieth century, while the Cuban criminal organizations have formed only in the 1980s. One can conclude that each of the national organized crime syndicates was created as a response to various changes in the country. For example, two named syndicates have risen in times of increased immigration from the mentioned countries. 

Probably, the Italian-American Mafia is  the most famous form of organized crime in the United States. Thanks to numerous representations in movies and literature Cosa Nostra has become a legendary criminal syndicate. This organized crime group, also known as the Italian-American Syndicate (IAS) has also been in the center of attention of the organized crime researchers. In fact, the majority of studies conducted on the subject of criminal organizations are focused only on Mafia and Cosa Nostra (Hagan, 1983).

For many years Italian-American Mafia has also been the core of the US organized crime. In 1960s there were twenty-four groups that operated as nation-wide ones (Blakey, 2009, p. 36). The structure of these groups was borrowed from the Corsican Mafia tradition. Each one was called a “family”. The distinctive feature of this form of criminal organization was the fact that all group members could be replaced and the structure functioned even when some people left the “family” (Abadinsky, 2010). This was truly even for the gang leaders and if mafia one had died he was just replaced with a new one.

Abadinsky (2010) defines two main forms of criminal organizations and states that each existing one can be put on the continuum between two main forms. According to the author, on one hand, there is such a form that supports the patron-client relationships, while, on the other side of the continuum, there is a form with a bureaucratic corporate structure. The patron-client model in criminal activity is defined by a form of unity within organization, such as respect. Moreover, in this type of an organization, there is a form of order and co-existence with law enforcement. The patron-client organization has its own territory and either controls (patronages) all the activity within the territory, or ignores this activity and in some cases might even cooperate with the law enforcement. The corporate model of organized crime has the same features as any corporation: strict division of labor, complicated hierarchy, clear written rules and regulations and written vertical communication (Abadinsky, 2010, p. 10). The brightest example of the first model is American Mafia, while Colombian cartels can be located on the other side of the continuum.

Organized Crime and Terrorism

Terrorism and the organized crime have a lot of common features. According to Abadinsky (2010)  two forms of criminal activity are common in the organization style, methods, geography, and in many cases may even have the same members. The terrorism organizations are very similar to the drug trafficking ones: both criminal forms have cell structure, which strengthens organizational security and separates group leaders from average members; the means to find money and hide profits are also very similar; both forms of organizations use forged documents and multiple cell phones in order to hide the identities of their members (Abadinsky, 2010, p. 8).These two forms of illegal organizations have established very close ties because this relationship is mutually beneficial.  Organized crime can finance terrorism, while terrorists provide support and protection for criminal syndicates.

It is necessary to understand that although criminal organizations might be involved in terrorist activities, they, in the majority of cases, should not be affiliated with terrorism. Even though both types of illegal entities are opposed to the governmental institutions, terrorist want to overthrow the government, while organized crime is aimed at establishing own, parallel government and still coexist with the current one (Abadinsky, 2010, p. 6). Ideology is another significant difference between terrorist groups and organized crimes. While the members of terrorist groups unite on the strong ideological basis, the members of syndicates can share some values or mutual respect (as in the case of Mafia), but are not united by any ideological background (Finckenauer, cited in Finklea, 2009).

Organized Crime and Trafficking

Trafficking of drugs and humans is one of the main forms of trans-national activity of criminal organizations. Human trafficking is an officially recognized international criminal offence. Illegal migrants, which are defined as people who are located in a country illegally, are the subjects to criminal responsibility. Padhy (2006) defines two different types of illegal migrants that were brought to a country by criminal syndicates: those who were smuggled and victims to human trafficking.

The victims of human trafficking are clearly identifiable. Moreover, they are exposed to higher levels of abuse and violence than the other types of illegal migrants. The exploitation of the human trafficking victims is a part of the process and does not come from any external sources (Padhy, 2006, p. 100). Human trafficking is considered to be a crime against a person. On the contrary to human trafficking, smuggling of people does not have a victim. Only the violated country laws can be considered as “injured party”. The persons want to be smuggled to a country and even pay to the smuggler for the safe illegal transfer. Therefore, the process of smuggling can be described as a business relationship, when a person that wants to be smuggled is a client to the smuggler, who provides services. Human trafficking is  much more dangerous crime than smuggling. While in the second case only the laws are violated, in the first one the lives of people are endangered. Moreover, trafficking is conducted without consent from people. And even if the consent is given, the victims of trafficking usually do not know about the forms of exploitation that will be used on them. And exploitation is the main purpose of the traffickers because using of people in the place of destination they gain profit. 

Organized Crime and Globalization

Criminal organizations can be called a form of  illegal business. As in any other form of business globalization has already developed in the criminal one (Padhy, 2006). Criminal organizations easily get engaged in international illegal businesses and cross the borders. For the first time the dangers of international organized crime were recognized in the end of the 20th century. This phenomenon was discussed on the international level on the World Inter-Ministerial Conference in 1994 (Padhy, 2006, p. 16). The most developed international form of organized crime is human trafficking.

Some researchers still do not believe in the global scope of organized crime and call it a myth (Morrison, 2002). They state that although some ties among crime groups worldwide might exist, these connections are still not strong enough to establish one global criminal entity. According to these scientists, currently the competition between criminal entities plays  more important role than desire to establish one common network.

National and International Laws against Organized Crime

In the 21st   century the US priorities in the sphere of crime fighting has changed. After the 9/11 events the main priority has shifted from the traditional organized crime to terrorism and counterintelligence (Finklea, 2009, p. 7). At the same time, over the recent years the attention has returned back to the organized crime and after the 15-year hiatus the Organized Crime Council has met again. But the main focus has changed to the international organized crime.

Each country has developed domestic units that fought organized crime. For example, in the United States there were special FBI teams working against the syndicates. The division was very specific, as each working cell was focused only on one type of organized crime group. But with the development of international organized crime and trans-national syndicates the domestic task forces weren’t enough. Therefore, the international community has agreed on establishing a number of unified groups and organizations that are able to respond to the organized crime on international level.

For quite a long time there was not any unity between countries in the process of combating organized crime, even in cases of trans-national organized criminal activities. Padhy (2006) believes that one of the main reasons for the lack of common efforts was the difference of impact of organized crime on different countries. But over the past decade the common efforts have increased, stimulated by  growing influence of the international organized crime.

In International context the United Nations has established the first segment of  combating the organized crime. The UN Convention on Trans-National Organized Crime that was ratified in 2005 has created a new instrument of combating crime on the international level (Padhy, 2006, p. 4). Three Protocols within this document have defined the main spheres of the combat: human trafficking and smuggling as well as firearms. The UN Protocol to Punish, Suppress, and Prevent Trafficking in Persons, Especially Children and Women, for example, is aimed at combating illegal border crossing and combat illegal immigration (Padhy, 2006, p. 98). The Convention has established the methods and tools of international cooperation in fighting organized crime. Moreover, the UN has international agreements on corruption and a wide range of instruments on combating terrorism.

As a result of the UN Convention, domestic law enforcement groups have to cooperate with the international bodies. As one example of such cooperation, the United States government and federal bodies are supporting the UN Office of Drugs and Crime in the process of combating international organized crime (Finklea, 2009, p. 9). This cooperation of national and international bodies is essential for success of the crime fighting practices. Only through mutual support these two sides of the organized crime fighting power will be possible to cope with the problem. On one hand, international organizations have  wider scope of actions, but they are too young to be able to focus on all expressions of organized crime all over the world. On the other hand, domestic organizations are able to fight organized crime locally, but don’t have enough authority and resources for international work. Therefore, only through cooperation of domestic and international law enforcement organizations it will be possible to fight trans-national organized crime.


Common background for organized crime

The most common feature that can be tracked through the history of organized crime is the connection between major changes in a country and the significant increase in the criminal activity. The examples of decolonized states of Western Africa and the post-Soviet countries provide the same picture. After the change of powers in a country some kind of a “power vacuum” is created (The UN Office on Drugs and Crime, 2005). This empty space is rapidly taken by criminal syndicates. This tendency has two main reasons: firstly, the newly-emerged countries do not have a tradition of independent democratic government; thus for some time they remain in unstable position; secondly, as criminal organizations are developed faster than any other entity, they become the first ones to have enough power to govern. As a result, the newly-emerged countries that weren’t yet formed as democratic ones are in danger of the new governance conducted by criminal organization.

But the organized crime can experience  rapid growth not only in the newly-emerged states. Any form of turmoil and instability in a country leads to rise of criminal activity and, thus to formation of syndicates. The loss of jobs makes people look for sources for survival in the less legal fields. This desire to support families at time of economical decline was described as a reason for  rise of organized crime in Western Africa.

Meanwhile, the law enforcement system can be a strong stimulus for the development of organized crime, as it happened in the United States in different times in the twentieth century. At first, the Prohibition laws have automatically stimulated the growing illegal sales of spirits, and some two decades later illegal gambling became  new source for the financial prosperity of the US organized crime. Therefore, any illegal sphere that has a wide demand can strengthen organized crime. It is especially truly in case of legal subjects that are proclaimed illegal (Prohibition).

The danger of global organized crime

This study has already emphasized the fact that in the beginning of the 21st century the attention has shifted from the organized crime to the different sphere of criminal activity – terrorism. This has happened after the 9/11 attacks, which have clearly had their consequences in all the spheres of law enforcement and security. But it is essential to note that despite the change of priorities, the criminal activity of illegal organization was not stopped. On the contrary, it was evolving in new conditions of the global economy.

Many researchers state that the fall of Soviet Union was a great stimulus for the development of organized crime. It has happened not only because the group of newly-emerged state with  lack of governmental control and guidance have become a wonderful breeding ground for the development of organized crime, but also because the fall of the USSR has created the possibility for the development of the global market.

As it has been already stated criminal organizations can be perceived as equal to business entities, especially the ones with corporate structure. At the same time organized crime has a number of advantages if compared to legal business institutions.  Flexibility and lack of bureaucracy give criminal organizations a chance to adapt to the changing external conditions. As a result, criminal organizations are following the same worldwide tendencies in their development as any other organizations do.

Therefore, there is tendency towards globalization in the criminal world. Despite all the competitiveness between syndicates in different countries that was described as the main argument against globalization of crime; the current situation already shows the trans-national aspect of organized criminal activity. Although so far they’ve been presented in a limited number of activities, such as human or drug trafficking and the support of terrorist groups, crime syndicates from different countries are establishing stronger ties and cooperation. Therefore, globalization is already seen in the development of criminal organizations.

Policy Implications

This research has shown that there are new tendencies in the development of organized crime. The global scope for illegal actions has called upon new ways of response. The international community has already reacted to this new trans-national form of organized crime with establishment of a number of bodies that in cooperation with domestic law enforcement institutions are able to combat organized crime on different levels.

This unity between institutions and various stakeholders’ groups provides the existing law enforcement system not only with the ability to cover crime on the global scope, but also with a chance to target criminal groups and syndicates locally. This international cooperation among different law enforcement bodies should be strengthened because it is the only way  successfully to cope with the growing international crime.

At the same time it is possible only with the equal allocation of resources and distribution of efforts. The regions with developed criminal organizations, such as Africa or Eastern Europe are not able to protect their interests due to the limited resources and extremely strong criminal activity in the regions. Therefore, the international community should cooperate with weaker countries and provide its support for the crime fighting in the most insecure regions. In any case international cooperation remains the main instrument for fighting with illegal activities all over the world. Only the organized work of countries will be able to stand against well-coordinated and more flexible activities of criminal organizations.


Through the historical research this paper explored the emergence and development of the organized crime phenomenon in different parts of the world. Despite the fact that organized crime existed in the 18th and 19th centuries, the major developments in the sphere have happened in the second part of the 20th century with the emergence and strengthening of criminal organizations on all continents. This study especially focused on the development of the organized crime in the United States as one country has the representatives of syndicates from all over the world, although Italian-American mafia is still the most famous form of organized crime in the US.

This paper has a special focus on two types of organized criminal activity: trafficking and terrorism. They were selected as the bright representations of trans-national illegal activities of organized crime. These crimes show that syndicates are moving to the new developmental stage, which is global criminal activity. Globalization tendencies have influenced the criminal sphere no less than the others. It can be even said that illegal organizations have adjusted to the new world order faster than all other entities thanks to their flexible structure and lack of bureaucracy. And currently both scholars and law enforcement organizations believe in the future of organized crime as an international unity of all syndicates.

International community is already reacting to these new tendencies in the development of organized crime. Along with domestic law enforcement institutions a number of international bodies were created and agreements were signed. The current policy for combating organized crime globally is based on the unity of national and international law enforcement groups.

The main aim of this paper was to show that organized crime is a complex phenomenon that is highly dependent on the society and external influences. There are some patters in the world that stimulate organized crime, as well as methods to stop it. And the tendency towards globalization of the phenomenon is just another example of the reaction of organized crime to the changes in the society and the world.


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