The Federal Bureau of Investigation (herein referred to as the FBI) is one of the arms of the security apparatus in the United States of America that is tasked with the duty of fighting organized crime in the country. According to the bureau, the modern and historic impact of this form of crime in this nation is limited both in scope and in impact. Additionally, organized crime in this country is relegated to the Italian mafia (FBI, 2011).
This statement has raised a lot of controversy, especially within the security circles. There are those who view this statement as a minimalist view of organized crime in the United States of America. The impact of this form of crime is in no way limited, both historically and spatially. It touches on every part of the American society, and it is not limited to the Russian mafia, given the fact that there are many organized crime gangs both within and without the country’s border, all posing considerable threat to the citizens of the country.
Organized crimes can be traced back to the Prohibition Laws of the 1920s (Finckenauer, 2007). These laws illegalized the supply of alcohol in the country, but in no way eliminated the demand for the same. Seizing this opportunity, organized criminal gangs such as the Mafia supplied this commodity, making huge profits in illegal dealings (Abadinsky, 2010). Analysts are of the view that this form of crime has a long history in the country. It was especially evident when Italian immigrants started settling in American northeast coast (Lunde, 2004). The two observations above points to the fact that organized crime is not limited historically; it is not a recent phenomenon.
Impacts of this form of crime transcend many sectors of American life. For example, organized criminal gangs pose economic threat to the country by failing to pay taxes for illegal activities such as operation of casinos in Las Vegas (Nash, 2010). This leads to a loss of tax revenue for the country’s government, threatening the financial power of the authorities. According to the FBI (2011), it is estimated that these gangs amass about $1 trillion annually, globally.
Organized gangs also pose a security threat to the country. Lunde (2004) is of the view that security agents in the country are concerned that organized gangs may combine efforts with terrorists, given their shared label of criminals in the society. When this happens, the security of the country will be at risk.
It is also evident that organized crime poses a threat to the society by availing drugs to the youths and other drug addicts (Finckenauer, 2007). The availability of drugs means that the moral values in the society are eroded, pointing to the fact that the impacts of this form of crime are not limited to the economic and security fronts. The impacts also extend to the social sector of the country (Nash, 2010).
It is also fallacious for the FBI to allege that organized crime is relegated to Italian mafia. This is given the fact that America has seen many organized gangs from different countries all targeting citizens of this country (Abadinsky, 2010). This is for example gangs from Nigeria, Africa, who are involved in money laundering. Others are the Japanese Boryokudan and the Chinese Tongs (FBI, 2011). The onset of technology such as the internet has made it possible for gangs operating outside the American borders to pose a threat to the citizens of this country. However, there is no denying the fact that the Russian mafia makes up a significant portion of organized crime in this country. For example, according to Finckenauer (2007), there are about 15 mafia gangs in the United States of America, with about 6,000 members.
In conclusion, it is important to note that the statement by the FBI regarding organized crime in the United States of America is not entirely misleading. For example, it is a fact that the Italian mafia makes up a significant portion of organized criminal gangs in the United States of America. However, organized criminal activities are in no way limited to this gang.
Abadinsky, H. (2010). Organized crime. 9th ed. Florence: Thomas Wadsworth.
Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2011). Organized crime: Overview. Web.
Finckenauer, J O. (2007). Russian organized crime in the United States. National Institute of Justice. Web.
Lunde, P. (2004). Organized crime. New York: Life Books.
Nash, T. (2010). The power of organized crime. Web.