The United States has a long history of organized crime. This history dates back to the period before the Second World War. These groups were made up of immigrants who had moved into the United States to avert the economic woes in their native countries. Although the current counterterrorism efforts have overshadowed the combat against organized crime, the vice has not died completely. The FBI’s claim that the modern and historic impact of organized crime in the United States is limited in scope and impact, and is relegated mostly to the Italian Mafia is debatable. In spite of being largely an Italian Mafia affair, organized crime has a significant modern and historic impact in the United States.
It is true that organized crime in the United States is mostly relegated to the Italian mafia. After the Second World War, criminal organizations with Italian heritage were the dominant force in organized crime in the United States (Abadinsky, 2010). Initially, several groups were involved in organized crime. These groups entailed criminal organizations with individuals from Italian, Irish and Jewish traditions. Criminal organizations with Irish and Jewish traditions dwindled in influence after they failed to recruit sufficient new members, which left the Italian mafia as the dominant force (Abadinsky, 2010). In fact, the Italian criminal organization’s depth and strength made it be labeled as the American mafia.
The Italian mafia is the most influential criminal organization in the United States. It has members spread across the United States. However, there are other criminal organizations with inferior influence compared to the Italian mafia’s. According to Abadinsky (2010), these organizations include the Mexican mafia and the “Gangster Disciples.” Then again, the activities of these two organizations are limited in strength and scope due to their structures. For instance, the Mexican mafia mainly operates in prisons.
The increasing threats of terrorist activities have forced the government to expand its approach to combating organized crimes. At present, the United States is employing a transnational approach to handle organized crime (FBI, 2017). In this initiative, the government combines the war against organized crime with terrorism. The government has shifted its focus from the Italian mafia. It employs an inclusive perspective in eradicating organized crime.
The FBI’s claim that the modern and historic impact of organized crime in the United States is limited in scope and impact is misleading. Throughout history, organized crime has affected security, politics and economic issues significantly. In fact, organized crime led to the rise of Italian immigrants’ economic abilities in major United States cities like New York and Chicago (Abadinsky, 2010). The criminal organizations obtain financial incomes through illegal businesses such a drug trafficking, forced prostitution, and smuggling of ammunition. The rise of these organizations led to the implementation of new policies to combat crime. One of these policies is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Presently, the FBI claims that there is a close relationship between organized crime and terrorism. Moreover, the effects of organized crime on political stability in nations such as Colombia illustrates that it is still a dominant force.
Irrefutably, organized crime is mostly relegated to the Italian mafia. Although other criminal organizations exist in the United States, their activities and influence cannot match the Italian mafia’s. Even so, it is misleading to claim that the modern and historic impact of organized crime in the United States is limited in scope and impact. In reality, organized crime has significantly shaped the political, security, and economic spheres in the nation.
- Abadinsky, H. (2010). Organized crime. Florence: Thomas Wadsworth Publishing.
- FBI. (2017). Transnational Organized Crime. Retrieved from Federal Bureau of Investigation: https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/organized-crime#Italian-Organized Crime/Mafia