Today organized crime in the United States grows larger and continues to strive in Americans society. Organized crime can be described as a set-up for criminal acts to be committed. (Cole, Smith p. 5) The services these criminals provide include distribution to millions of people with maximum profit at minimum risk. The increase of crime in the United States is due to the large sums of money providing services such as drug trade, gambling, drugs, weapon trading and prostitution. (Inciardi, p.109) Illegal goods and services are provided by the network of criminal organizations. (Cole, Smith, p.5) Organized crimes four major characteristics are: small sub-culture, income, status, and connection with the mafia. (Organized Crime, 2001).
First, organized crime involves participants who associate themselves into complex systems for the sole purpose of committing crimes. The second aspect involves the nature of organized crime. Instrumental crimes are defined as illegal acts committed when individuals are unable to obtain desired goods and services through traditional services, and therefore resort to crimes-for-profit. (Organized Crime, 2001).
Third, organizational crime offers illegal goods and services in order to make profits. (Organized Crime, 2001) Examples of organized crime are illegal gambling, prostitution, pornography, loan sharking, bootlegging, and land extortion. ( Incairdi, p.109) In organized crime violence is generally used to ensure the ongoing survival and profitability of an organization. Organized crime has also been known to promote other crimes for profit such as bank robbery, hijacking, labor racketeering, burglary, and arson. ( Inciardi, p. 110).
The next important aspect of organized crime is its direct connection with government and politics. (Organized Crime, 2001) Political corruption, known as graft, is a significant part of the maintenance of organized crime.