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SOC 1500 Nov 22 2011 Lecture Note (F11)

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SOC 1500
Alexander Shvarts

Hackler: Organized Crime and Gangs - Chapter 19, Strain and Subcultural theory – Chapte1 8 Schmalleger and Volk: Strain and Subcultural theory – Chapter 8, Rational Choice theory – Chapter 5 SOC 1500 Tuesday, November 22, 2011 Lecture 9: Organized Crime and Gangs Gangs: Their Attractions, The Roles They Play, Why They Exist • Rodney Stamler (2004): Uses the 3 main Italian-based organized crime groups - the Sicilian Mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta, and the U.S. branch of La Cosa Nostra to illustrate the way many organized crime and gang structures operate. • Canada: These groups are most active in Ontario and Quebec. They maintain ties with Asian, Eastern European crime groups, Columbian, other South American groups. They are involved in drug trafficking, smuggling, money laundering, illegal gambling, extortion, loan sharking, prostitution, and stock market manipulation. > Linked with various other organized crime groups Gangs: Their Attractions, The Roles They Play, Why They Exist • Changing conditions can promote organized crime: The fall of the old order in Russia and in Eastern Europe left a vacuum in the political, economic, and social control institutions. Criminal gangs stepped in to provide goods and services that were not available through other sources. > Mid 1980’s-1990’s Russia became powerful because government collapsed and businesses needed protection; communist system collapsed; free-market system emerged; businesses were not protected – mafia had to step in to provide services government wasn’t providing • United States: During the 1920s, gangs were seen as the product of cultural dislocations and community disorganization resulting from large numbers of immigrants. By the 1930s, the Great Depression provided explanations, such as economic pressures and lack of work. In the 1960s and 1970s, sociological explanations focused on young males who had failed in conventional society and who turned to gangs for alternate avenues to success. > #1) Alcohol was prohibited, #2) Immigrants turned to organized crime b/c marginalized – don’t have resources they need, can’t achieve goals through legitimate means, #3) Great Depression – living in poverty; could either starve or find criminal ways to make $$ Is the Number of Gangs Increasing in Canada? > No evidence that gangs are increasing; depends on what is going on in society • 33% of gang subjects were born in Canada • 46% were foreign-born. Of the foreign-born gang subjects, 73% originated in Asia. Major Organized Crime Groups in Canada 1. Italian Mafia 2. Chinese Triads 3. Colombian Mafia 4. Russian Mafia 5. Other Canadian Ethnic-Based Drug Trafficking Groups 6. Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Hackler: OrganiStrain and Subcultural theory – Chapter 8, Rational Choice theory – Chapter 5chmalleger and Volk: Italian Mafia • Camorra in Sicily: First Mafia organization in Italy was the Camorra, established in Sicily in the 19th century. There was a hierarchical system of control, with the godfather at the top of the hierarchy, and soldiers at the bottom. Income was derived from protection rackets > Collect $ to pr,tect robbery, murder for hire, blackmail, kidnapping, and loan sharking. Members were recruited from prisons. Camorra gave way to the Sicilian Mafia, which had a family-based recruitment system. Italian Mafia • Sicilian Mafia: In the late 19th century, moved to the United States, Canada, Australia. They controlled gambling, narcotics, and other rackets. During Prohibition, Mafia groups in the major cities of the US were involved in the manufacture, importation, and sale of illicit alcohol. In the 1930s, Lucky Luciano brought together a federation of North American Mafia families, known as La Cosa Nostra (LCN). It invested its illegal profits into legitimate business, which included legal gambling casinos in Nevada and Cuba. By the 1930s, LCN was firmly based in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. In 1951, the Mafia moved its gambling headquarters into Montreal, and later facilitated drug smuggling from Montreal to the United States. The Italian Mafia’s influence has been reduced over the past decade. In Italy, magistrates and police have conducted a campaign against the Mafia, which has resulted in the conviction of hundreds of criminals and has implicated politicians, government officials, and businesspeople. > Influential in starting Las Vagas Chinese Triads • Came into existence in China in the late 17th century. They began as resistance fighters against the Manchu invaders, and eventually developed into crime groups. They engaged in criminal activities such as gambling, narcotics trafficking, prostitution, loan sharking, and extortion. • Triads then migrated to North America where they remained mostly within the Chinese communities. • In Hong Kong alone, there are an estimated 80 000 Triad members. The southeast Asian region is currently a major supplier of Heroin to the Western world. Many Triads have invested their funds in legitimate businesses. Several Asian gangs have developed a business smuggling illegal immigrants into Canada and the United States. Colombian Mafia • Control cocaine distribution in Canada, United States, South America, the Caribbean, and Europe • Provide at least 75% of the cocaine that is consumed in Canada and the United States, which amounts to a multibillion-dollar annual profit. > Kidnapping capital of the world; extremely dangerous place Hackler: OrganiStrain and Subcultural theory – Chapter 8, Rational Choice theory – Chapter 5chmalleger and Volk: Russian Mafia • Organized criminals have been the main beneficiaries of the transition from a communist to a capitalist economy. Following the end of the Communist regime in 1991, criminal justice system became corrupt and ineffective. In a country where every move was controlled by the state police, law enforcement officials are now poorly paid, ill-equipped, and virtually powerless to have any impact on the rapidly rising crime rate. > Communist system collapsed; government didn’t
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