Crime in a Free Society: Selections from the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice

By Robert W. Winslow | Go to book overview
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8 Organized crime

Organized crime is a society that seeks to operate outside the control of the American people and their governments. It involves thousands of criminals, working within structures as complex as those of any large corporation, subject to laws more rigidly enforced than those of legitimate governments. Its actions are not impulsive but rather the result of intricate conspiracies, carried on over many years and aimed at gaining control over whole fields of activity in order to amass huge profits. 1

The core of organized crime activity is the supplying of illegal goods and services—gambling, loan sharking, narcotics, and other forms of vice—to countless numbers of citizen customers. 2

____________________
1
The Kefauver committee found that
1. "There is a Nationwide crime syndicate known as the Mafia, whose tentacles are found in many large cities.It has international ramifications which appear most clearly in connection with the narcotics traffic.
2. "Its leaders are usually found in control of the most lucrative rackets of their cities.
3. "There are indications of a centralized direction and control of these rackets, but leadership appears to be in a group rather than in a single individual.
4. "The Mafia is the cement that helps to bind the Costello-Adonis-Lansky syndicate of New York and the Accardo-Guzik-Fischetti syndicate of Chicago as well as smaller criminal gangs and individual criminals throughout the country.These groups have kept in touch with Luciano since his deportation from this country.
5. "The domination of the Mafia is based fundamentally on 'muscle' and 'murder.' The Mafia is a secret conspiracy against law and order which will ruthlessly eliminate anyone who stands in the way of its success in any criminal enterprise in which it is interested.It will destroy anyone who betrays its secrets. It will use any means available—political influence, bribery, intimidation, etc., to defeat any attempt on the part of law-enforcement to touch its top figures or to interfere with its operations." Senate Special Committee to investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce (hereinafter cited as Kefauver Committee), 3rd Interim Report, Senate Report No. 307, 82nd Congress, 1st Session, p. 150, 1951. See also Office of the New York Counsel to the Governor, Combating Organized Crime—A Report of the 1965 Oyster Bay, New York, Conferences on Combating Organized Crime, 1966.
2
Johnson, " Organized Crime: Challenge to the American Legal System," parts 1-3, Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science, 1963, 53:399, 402-404, 1962; 54:1, 127.

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