Organised Crime Revision notes. CRIM102 Lancaster

Organised Crime

  • Definition

  • Traditional → Contemporary

  • Effects of Globalisation

  • Effects of technology

  • Diversification of organised crime

  • Tackling organised crime

Organised Crime

  • Understand organised crime in 2 main ways

    • As a type of criminal behaviour

      • Characterised by

        • Sophistication

        • Continuity

        • Rationality

      • Carried out for monetary gain

    • In relation to the organised nature of the relationship between the offenders involved

      • Criminal organisations, groups, networks

  • Who or What?

    • Is organised crime considered the activities or the actors

  • How organised crime is understood at the policy level affects:

    • Perception of organised crime at the social level

    • Responses by law enforcement

    • Police consider the types of crime over the networks of people involved

      • Each offence that the group may be charged for has its own evidence requirements

        • Guilt for one crime doesn’t entail guilt for another (Sergei, 2016)

  • Organised crime can often add to the economy so isn’t necessarily bad for state business as it may seem at first (Sassan, 2007)

  • Empirical investigations into organised crime focus on the makeup of who is committing the crime rather than the amount of crime that is committed globally (Levi, 2004)


  • Drug trafficking

  • Human trafficking

  • Cigarette smuggling

  • Counterfeit Goods

  • Cybercrime

  • Fraud

    • Contemporary types of organised crime facilitated by technological advancement

  • Arms trafficking

  • Organised wildlife crime

    • Ivory trade

    • Whaling

    • Poaching

    • Smuggling of exotic pets

  • The debate over whether corporate crime should be considered organised crime

    • Sutherland (1983) recognized corporate crime as organised crime

    • Most conspiracies in corporate crime do have a level of organisation and sophistication

    • Offenders must have skills in order to succeed and not be caught

  • Piracy

    • Could account for up to a fifth of global gross domestic product (Glenny, 2008)

  • Terrorism

    • Has its own category but usually is a form of organised crime (Wilkinson, 2001)

  • Crimes against the environment

    • Occasionally are performed through organisations

      • Waste management fraud

        • Cheaper ways to dispose of waste

        • Done improperly and so toxic waste can cause dangerous pollution

      • Building maintenance and construction

      • Pollution (OHOC)


  • First definitions in the UK were inherently racist

    • Transnational criminals were not considered able to come from the UK

    • Seen as a practice of foreigners

    • This understanding has had to change (Hobbs, 2013)

  • “‘Organised criminal group’


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