The United States is run by a democratic government that has laws in place to ensure order and organization. However, there are certain people and groups that wish to compromise and profit personally from breaking these laws. According to Understanding Organized Crime (2007), organized crime can be defined by the members and the activities of a group. There are many crimes in which organized crime might be involved, but what separates individual crime from crimes committed by groups of people is the term organized or organization. Organization has been described as a group of people who cooperate to accomplish objectives or goals. Organized crime has been around for centuries; from Outlaw gangs in the western days that robbed stage coaches, the pony express, and passengers of trains to today’s Blood and Crip gangs that dominate public streets for power over territories and drug sales. Gangs have been around for a long time imposing on the lives and liberties of law abiding citizens that wish to obey laws. Law abiding citizens have to live in imminent fear that their lives are not disrupted by the actions of these criminal organizations that wish to indulge in crime. In this paper, we will explore the various definitions, perception, characteristics of organized crime, and explore some high profile groups that indulge in different types of crimes. Perception of Organized Crime
A University of Phoenix student named ————– was asked how she defined organized crime. ———–’s perception of organized crime has some of the dynamics right such as profit, power, and hatred, but the reading further states that organized crime has no real black and white meaning, besides a group of people uniting for a common goal. Her answer was simple; she stated that organized crime is when a group of people break laws and/or violate others in order to gain power, profit, or promote hatred. Organized crime groups incarcerated within the prison system such as Nuestra Familia and Mexican Mafia, break laws to gain power that lead to some form of profit; depending on what they need such as drugs, cigarettes, or privileges from others. Drug Cartels as the Shower Posse and Spangler Posse of Jamaica, involved themselves in organize crime to profit from illegal drug activity, and groups like the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Brotherhood are driven by hatred. Author’s Perception Compare to the Definitions in the
Readings The author’s perception of the definition in the reading is similar in the meaning of criminal organization, but the book states that crime can be defined by the members and the activities of a group. This means that crime is what each club sees it to be. This is an interesting point, but very true. Many people (e.g. club members) in society commit crimes for different reasons. Some feel it is necessary to break laws due to their limited necessities in life. It does, in no means make it right, but it is the perception of many. The prisons are filled with individuals/criminals that feel they were doing what they needed to do to defend themselves, take care of themselves, or just was presented with opportunity. Some of them sit in prison for years and still feel that their actions of breaking the law were justified. This is the mentality of most organized crime gangs. All they care about is what they want at the time, and not what the implications of breaking the law can lead to, until it hits home. ———has personal knowledge of different biker groups and 2 Outlaw Motorcycle Gang’s (OMG’s) and was raised in and around the biker atmosphere, but none of those groups that are mentioned in the book. She has heard the mentality of the OMG’s as opposed to regular Biker Clubs. The 1% clubs run their clubs totally different with no regard for breaking the law, indulging in violence, or starting trouble. 1% Outlaw Biker Gangs
One of the clubs that she knows of is called the Chosen Few. The Chosen Few is a 1% motorcycle gang that ———-has first-hand knowledge of. She has known some of their members for a long time and has witnessed how their club is run, aside from other biker clubs that do charitable work in and around their communities, such as toy runs, mentorships, feeding, and clothing the homeless and disable children. In a recent article, from 2010, the Chosen Few M.C. was involved in 3 murders. After this incident, law enforcement officials began to keep a close eye on them and found even more illegal affiliations. The article by Chris Vogel (2011), points out several incidents with Chosen Few members that had negitive run-ins with the law. The article states that agents used confidential informants to buy drugs and guns from members, a member was arrested with more than a kilo of coke, police discovered that a DMV worker was making fake identifications for club members to use in order to buy guns, and a member was arrested with a gallon
of PCP – which led federal agents to Detroit, where another six gallons of PCP were seized. (Feds Catch Chosen Few Motorcycle Club Members Selling Guns & PCP, 2011) According to the characteristics of organized crime with Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMG’s) the Chosen Few, fits the criteria. Characteristics Associated with Organized Criminal Behavior
There are certain characteristics of organized criminal behaviors that range from commitment to eminent structure. Commitment is an oath and allegiance to what these clubs, good or bad stand for. It is needed to protect and serve the honor of the organization and all its secrets. Along with this it comes with a sense of power, pride, and protection. Survival is a trait that many organized crime member’s exhibit. It is sometimes used to partake in illegal activities to sustain the worldly goods that obtained. For OMG’s, it may consist of the clubhouse, due paying members, and motorcycles. Punishment is a characteristic that is prevalent in discouraging members from disloyalty, disobedience, or dishonor. These punishments can be in the form of death, beat downs, or in the case of OMG’s fines or snatching of colors. Structure is the final characteristic that needed for an organize crime group to be successful. Like a business is run with a CEO, CFO, and other people in place to ensure order, organized crime groups are ran alike. With a chief officer in place and other members in position to handle different aspects of business to make sure there is no breakdown in with members. In conclusion, organize crime has unique characteristics that has been in place for centuries, and although law enforcement has been investigating the structures of this organizations, it is too many to stop. They are intricate organizations with different reasons as to why they chose to break the law. This is why there is no clear cut definition of organize crime.
Mallory, S. (2007). Understanding Organized Crime. Retrieved from University of Phoenix.
Vogel, C. (2011). Feds Catch Chosen Few Motorcycle Club Members Selling Guns & PCP. Retrieved from http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2011/07/black_biker_gang_chosen_few.php