Presentation – organized crime in Florida

Introduction

  • Organized crime threatens the safety and well being of global citizens.
  • Definition “Any group having some manner of a formalized structure and whose primary objective is to obtain money through illegal activities” (Federal Bureau of Investigations – FBI, n.d, p. 1).
  • Historically activities – “gambling, prostitution, labor racketeering, smuggling/trafficking, extortion, theft, murder, and money laundering” – are illegal under various federal and state legislations (Finklea, 2010, p. 1).
  • Emerging activities due to changing characteristics of the groups – distracting strategic economic sectors (e.g. energy), providing support to terror groups, and using cyberspace to defraud vulnerable citizens (Finklea, 2010).
  • Costs – economic , social and cultural and health –  adversely affects activities that add value to the quality of life.
  • Purpose of the presentation – to evaluate various aspects of organized crime in Florida such as ; impacts on the community, efforts to reduce organized crime and comparing these with other countries.

Impacts of Organized Crime in Florida

  • Type of organized crime in Florida – local criminal gangs (Florida House of Representative, 2008).
  • Occurrence – every city including “small rural towns, upper middle-class neighborhoods, and schools” (Florida House of Representative, 2008, p. 2).
  • Main activity – street-level distribution of illegal drugs such as cocaine, lysergic acid diethylamide, heroin, ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine ) and marijuana (Florida House of Representative, 2008).
  • Impacts – Individual level and community level.
  • Individual level – heightened risk of friends being recruited, reduced social interactions, insecurity.
  • Community level – Insecurity ; Daily experiences of fear of in highly affected lower-income neighborhoods (Florida House of Representative, 2008).
  • National – support to terror groups a threat to preservation of human life (Florida House of Representative, 2008).
  • With all these contributions, the social, health and economic costs of the gangs in the community are enormous (Florida House of Representative, 2008).

Efforts to Combat Organized crime

  • Combating organized crime can be at the Federal, State and local levels.
  • Federal – FBI is the main agency charged with combating organized crime in the U.S. (Finklea, 2010).

–Uses Enterprise Theory of Investigation (ETI) tool – identification of the group , its activities, and it’s financial assets for possible forfeiture to weaken its financial base (Finklea, 2010).

  • Florida – preventative , intervention and suppression programs (Florida House of Representative, 2008).

–Preventative programs  –  educating middle school children to avert their recruitment into gangs e.g. Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T).

–Intervention programs  – target individuals already entrenched into gang activities for rehabilitation  – e.g. caught in the crossfire program.

–Suppression programs  – integrate partnerships with groups such as religious ones, collecting intelligence and laws to delineate punitive measures

  • Results – Positive – e.g. caught in the cross fire- engaged youths are “70% less likely to be arrested and 60% less likely to evidence criminal involvement than hospitalized youth who did not partake in the program” (Florida House of Representative, 2008, p. 11).

Comparative Assay

  • Comparative assay of effects with China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, England, France, and Germany

(a)China  – Main activities in respective order of seriousness –  Drug distribution, Gambling and prostitution, violence (Gonzales, Schofield, & Hagy, 2007).

Impacts –   Retarded economic growth – monopolized some wholesale  businesses, protection by local authorities,  municipal, local and regional problem; social costs  – sexual exploitation and smuggling for labor (Gonzales, eta al., 2007)

(a)Japan : Activities – organized crime groups (Yakuza) – gambling, prostitution, amphetamine trafficking, and the victimization of legitimate business (Gonzales, eta al., 2007).

Impacts – Economic impacts (e.g victimization of legitimate business); social costs (e.g. prostitution).

(a)Saudi Arabia – Activities – illegal trafficking of endangered species; transnational crimes (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, n.d). Impacts – economic (loss of foreign exchange), Social (international conflicts)

(d) England – main activities – drugs, organized immigration crime, fraud, cyber crime, firearms and armed robbery (SOCA, 2010)

Impacts – loss of revenue – entire UK drug related laundering is ₤ 1 million per month (SOCA, 2010) Social – strain on amenities from trafficked  persons (SOCA, 2010).

(e) France – main activities – drugs, fraud, cyber crime, firearms and armed robbery

Impacts – loss of revenue – entire UK drug related laundering is ₤ 1 million per month (SOCA, 2010) Social – strain on amenities from trafficked  persons.

(F) Germany – main activities – drug trafficking, violence – witness protection laws (Hilger, n.d)

Impacts – Economic and social, health – injuries from violent crimes

Conclusion

  • Organized crime has significant adverse economic, social and health outcomes
  • Florida main forms – local gangs involved mainly in distribution of illegal drugs.
  • Impacts – social impacts (e.g. fear of attacks), economic (illegal trade reduces taxes) and health (hospitalization)
  • Efforts – preventative (e.g. G.R.E.A.T), Intervention (e.g. caught in cross fire), suppression (partnerships, intelligence and legislative).
  • Similarities with other countries – drug trafficking, violence.
  • Differences – Prostitution not a major factor as in the Asian countries (China , and Japan).

References

Federal Bureau of Investigations – FBI (n.d). Organized crime. Retrieved August, 07, 2010, from http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/orgcrime/glossary.htm

Finklea, K. M. (2010). Organized crime in the United States: Trends and issues for congress. Retrieved August, 07, 2010, from http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/orgcrime/glossary.htm http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R40525.pdf

Florida House of Representatives (2008). Organized crime groups in Florida. Retrieved August, 07, 2010, from http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?PublicationType=Committees&CommitteeId=2361&Session=2008&DocumentType=Reports&FileName=Organized%20Crime%20Groups%20in%20Florida.pdf

Gonzalez, A. R., Schofield, R. B.,  Hagy, D. W. (2007): Asian Transnational Organized Crime and Its Impact on the United States. National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved August, 07, 2010, from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/214186.pdf

Hilger, J. P. W. (n.d). Organized crime / Witness protection in Germany. Resource Material Series No. 58, 99-105. Retrieved August, 07, 2010, from  http://www.unafei.or.jp/english/pdf/PDF_rms/no58/58-09.pdf

Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (n.d). Position paper for the commission on crime prevention and criminal justice. Retrieved August, 07, 2010, from http://www.nmun-muenchen.de/_downloads/saudi_pps/CCPCJ.pdf

Serious Organized Crime Agency – SOCA (2010). Annual report and accounts. Retrieved August, 07, 2010, from http://www.soca.gov.uk/about-soca/library/doc_download/203-annual-report-2009-2010.pdf

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