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The Concept of Syndication As Applied To Organized Crime Essay

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The term Organized Crime may be construed to refer to an enterprise which involves a group of individuals in tight social relations and arranged hierarchically, based on kinship, friendships or functionality, aimed at gaining power and profit through both legal and illegal means. The groups embrace monopoly in its industry and resolves to violence, bribery or both to achieve its goals or maintain discipline across its membership (membership is limited with non-members only used on emergency basis) (Abadinsky, 1990).

Syndication on the other hand may be defined as an association among gangster groups or a wobbly affiliation that controls organized network of criminal activities. It can also be said to be a process in which capitalists groups venture into legal or illegal activities with an aim of gaining profits and power. Therefore, organized crime syndicate is the sum total of criminal activities organized and coordinated (by a number of associated criminal groups) on national level though at times the groups may have international contacts.

The syndication of such corporate like organized criminal groups can at times trade terror in the country in which they exist. Sometimes the syndication may be involved in legal practices such as the running of Casinos and restaurants in which vices such as sale of narcotics for illicit use, prostitution, gambling, brothels, etc are carried out.

These syndicates are often protected by corrupt politicians who are bribed to offer information or the connection the crime syndicate may need, some law enforcers and they can still afford legal advice to enable them engage in illegal activities without being seen to be rubbing the law in the wrong way. Such syndicates often coordinate both legal and illegal activities on the national levels so as to gain profit and power. Their association with corrupt politicians and other law enforcers has often seen these syndicate groups of organized crime go to height of even doing business with the government.

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Organized crime often takes a bureaucratic corporate structure with a complex hierarchical division of labor. Responsibilities are assigned to positions not individuals. It embraces an impersonal stance in carrying out responsibilities. In fact, the function of the responsibility is seen to be more important and above the person carrying it out. The rules are often unwritten and the members embrace a high degree of secrecy. Being a mirror reflecting monopoly capitalism, organized crime is often referred to as business which of course values profit either gained legally or illegally.

As Asphalt Jungle puts it organized crime differs from business on to the degree that it doesn’t use written support but business does. Organized crime relies so much on a code of secrecy. Prohibition and Organized Crime Syndication The origin of organized crime syndication is one thing that needs to be looked at in order to get a glimpse into the birth, intent and magnitude of organized crime in the US. The origin of organized crime syndication has often been associated with prohibition.

Prohibition was the period between 1920-1933 in the US when the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcohol for the purpose of consumption was nationally banned following the 18th amendment of the US constitution on prohibition of alcohol. This period was also marked by both religious and political movements calling for the end the rules supporting the prohibition or encumber of alcohol use (Hakim, 1995). Before prohibition, i. e. mid 19th century, gangster groups existed. They appeared as a result of an ideological contradiction in the US. The ideology of equal opportunity for all lacked real practical orientation.

This contradiction led to gang groups especially in ethnic towns and districts. The 1920 Volstead Act prohibited alcohol and any beverage with more than 0. 5% alcohol concentration. This prohibition, as a nativist reaction aimed to maintain morality spelt in the American dream, lacked popularity and people drank the more. Banning alcohol made it more desirable and the prohibition reflected sexual and alcohol liberation. Gangs operated clandestine bars where jazz, sex and alcohol were offered. The witnesses were murdered to prevent the gangsters from going to prison and between 1920 and 1933 the murder rates had increased from 6. to 9. 7 murders for very 1000 people.

The popularity of the gangsters increased especially when they were seen as businessmen giving people what they wanted (alcohol) (Hakim, 1995). Prohibition increased gangsters’ economic power. The risk of running an alcohol shop and this made alcohol prices to go higher and the business became lucrative. One is only required to import alcohol and then sign up people to defend the alcohol. For example, Al Capone had more than 700 gunmen working for him to this effect. This made organized crime to gain influence in society.

Apart from importing alcohol, the federal reserves were hijacked and ale stolen before alcohol was removed. Alcohol meant for medical use was also stolen in the same way. In the struggle to steady the supply of alcohol in the gangsters’ clandestine bars, syndication was employed through a vertical integration that controlled the production and importation of alcohol. Syndication led to the widening of organized crime from local enterprise to national and even international (Musto & Aaron, 1981). Ramification of syndication came as a result of many groups that have since evolved.

Examples include the Colombian drug cartels and the Jamaican Posses which have portrayed a sophisticated syndication model especially in the narcotics arena. As entrepreneurial and Narcotic centered criminal gangs the two are interested in market protection and they often use violence to ward competition away. Their political ideology and agenda is wider (even though they are market-focused), operate in a wider territory ranging fro state, interstate, national and even international. Their operations are very secretive and they often have political protection not ignoring support from some legal quarters.

Based on this, it has become very difficult for the law enforcers to abolish these cartels. Jerome Skolnick’s Two Gang Type Model Jerome Skolnick’s two gang model proposes two main types of gangs: Cultural gang which he said exist in a particular neighborhood which engages in Criminal activities in that neighborhood and Entrepreneurial gangs are greater than Cultural gangs because they aim at enriching themselves through criminal business activities such as the manufacture, sale and distribution of Narcotics (Abadinsky, 2004)

A good example of a cultural gang is the Chicago based Gangster Disciples. The members of these gang have the same primary cultural background and despite the fact that the gang has expanded its operations to other localities or states, their roots still remain to be neighborhood based. They understand their Chicago territory more than any other territory an d /their criminal activities are more likely to be in Chicago than any other locality.

Also, the success their operations are bound neighborhood based. For example, an operation of same nature and magnitude is bound to be more successful in Chicago than in any other locality because they understand their way around that neighborhood. Finally, this group, characteristic of neighborhood gangs, will tend to ward away any gang that attempts to carry out its operations in their territory. They will use violence to protect their territory (Abadinsky, 2004

In conclusion, organized crime is a very hard nut to crack and abolishing syndicated organized crime, the law enforcers need tight surveillance only with the help of reformed gang members. However, the reformed gang members who help police in investigations end up being killed before they can give any beneficial information. The political protection enjoyed by the gangs also adds to this abolition challenge. However, with tightened vigilance and use of technology, laudable strides have been made towards the abolition of such criminal syndicates.

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