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Friday, September 3, 2010

Criminology - Response to Organized Crime



"Large scaled organized crimes" is a term, which defines the powerful crime groups threatening the social order of a state. These groups may interact within the legal organs of a state or they can form illegal organizations for economic resources for their crime activities. It may be defined as the ongoing criminal enterprise groups whose ultimate purpose is personal economic gain through illegitimate means. They can further be defined as:

“"organised crime" means any continuing unlawful activity by an individual, singly or jointly, either as a member of an organised crime syndicate or on behalf of such syndicate, by use of violence or threat of violence or intimidation or coercion, or other unlawful means, with the objective of gaining pecuniary benefits, or gaining undue economic or other advantage for himself or any person or promoting insurgency”

There is not an internationally accepted definition of “organised crime.” However attempt has been made by the European Union and the UN in the UN Transnational Organised Crime Convention, 2000. Organised crime employs predatory tactics, such as intimidation, violence and corruption. It includes sophisticated activities as laundering illegal money through legitimate businesses. There are a few other important characteristics of an organised crime recognized by EU:

(i) collaboration among more that two people;
(ii) extending over a prolonged or indefinite period;
(iii) suspected of committing serious criminal offences;
(iv) the central goal of profit and/or power.

Organised crime is a consipirational activity involving coordination of numerous persons. An organised crimes pre-condition is social disintegration. This kind of a human resource is dependent on the relation between the general pathology of socio-cultural transformation and crime labor’s supply. In the last twenty years, large scaled organised crimes increased.


The topic of this presentation has twofold interpretation. That is to say, response to the organised crime could be reformative, i.e. in way of punishments or it could be participative, which encourages more people to become a part of the organised crime syndicate.
Participative Approach
Society supports or tolerates many types of organised crime indirectly, if not directly. Dealing with the participative approach first, that the society itself gives way to the organised crime. The Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999 explains that the expression "organised" , which means a Crime done by a single person in a planned way, as well as, crime committed, with the help of others in an organised way. It presupposes that the criminal, before committing the crime, has obtained complete information regarding the economic as well as social status of the person against the crime of is committed. The importance of considering the above definition is that the very basis of an organised crime is its conspirational character, which is possible only with the aid and assistance of a number of people.
It has been persuasively argued that organised crime is the result of the particular structure of our society. Donald Taft (1964) has said that the motives for organised crime are largely the same as those valued so highly in the free enterprise system. Organised crime, like legitimate business, attempts to achieve maximum returns with a minimum of expenditure through efficient organization and skilled staff. The difference is that legitimate business operates within the law and organised crime operates outside the law.
Further, Lindesmith has forcefully pointed out that factors like indifference to public affairs, general disregard for law, profit motivated economics, and questionable political practices produce a fertile place for organised crime.
People in society tolerate this crime because it gratifies many of their needs. The claim of the people and the law-enforcement officials that they try to prohibit illegal practices if nothing but hypocrisy and self-deception. In words of Robert Woetzel:
“The public demands action sporadically as intermittent, sensational disclosures reveal corruption caused by organised crime. Without sustained public pressure, law enforcement officers and politicians have little incentive to address themselves to combating organised crime. The vicious circle perpetuates itself. Corrupt politicians will not act unless the public so demands; the public will not insist for action till it gets the required services provided by organised crime; and the police will not take prevention seriously till it gets its due share.”

Reformative Approach
The reformative approach towards organised crime takes us to the issue of remedies against organised crime. As put by an Attorney General of U.S.A. , that innovative measures are necessary to tackle the problem of organised crime effectively.
Two approaches are possible in dealing with the criminal organizations responsible for organised crimes, which are dealt with below.
(i) The Law Enforcement Perspective; and
(ii) The Social & Economic Perspective
(i) The Law Enforcement Perspective – This approach professes the idea of applying legal sanctions on the different groups which indulge in organised crime. It calls for enactment and implementation of appropriate laws for the same. This has been adopted from the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice in the U.S.A., where an organised crime is consequence of a society working outside the control of American people and the government. As far as the legislations are concerned some of them are the Customs Act, the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA), Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators’ (Forfeiture of Property) and Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, but most of them have been ineffective. There is one state enactment which specifically deals with the organised crime, namely The Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999 (Maharashtra Act No 30 of 1999). Since organised crime are committed for economic gain, the punishment should relate to off setting the ill gotten gains. This hints that it is necessary to device methods and procedures make the provisions of the existing Acts effective.
Two Acts have been passed in the U.S. to deal with the problem of organised crime. One is the Organised Crime Control Act, 1970 and the other is the Racketeers’ Influence and Corrupt Organization Act, 1970 (RICO). As a result of these, it is now a crime to invest in legitimate business either the money which has been gathered through illegal activities to money in which no income tax ahs been paid.
(ii) The Social and Economic Perspective – According to this approach the problem of organised crime is a consequence of social functioning or dysfunctioning or market economy. The solution identified by this approach is an effective economic strategy.

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