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Trends in Organized Crime
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.26
Citation Impact (citeScore): 1
Number of Followers: 526  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1936-4830 - ISSN (Online) 1084-4791
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2574 journals]
  • Gangs in the El Paso-Juárez borderland: the role of history and geography
           in shaping criminal subcultures
    • Abstract: This paper examines the early precursors of organized criminal subcultures using the U.S.-Mexico border city of El Paso, Texas as a case-study. El Paso is known as the birthplace of the pachuco; the Mexican Americans’ original street-oriented subculture. It formed the basis for the numerous delinquent groups that would emerge there throughout the decades, ultimately producing a binational organized crime syndicate called the Barrio Azteca. This barrio-prison-cartel hybrid is a modern group with deep roots in the street-gang subcultures of the region. The current study shows that its ties to drug gangs in Ciudad Juárez and subsequent federal prosecutions were recent catalysts in its escalation as a unique cross-border entity. The work is informed by archival material, police data, and multi-faceted fieldwork with gang members and police. It illustrates how the El Paso-Juárez metroplex has fostered particular criminological dynamics not seen in any other place in the U.S. to date.
      PubDate: 2019-11-08
  • Do local elections increase violence' Electoral cycles and organized
           crime in Mexico
    • Abstract: Although several previous studies have advanced the knowledge of how violence perpetrated by DTOs affects electoral outcomes, the study of how levels of criminal violence vary during local electoral contests remains scant. Stated differently, we know little on whether the local electoral cycle has an effect on the level of criminal violence. Employing the CIDE-PPD Database, we find that local elections do have an effect on levels of DTOs violence and that the greatest incentives to upscale violence occur shortly before election day. These fluctuations suggest that DTOs are actively seeking to influence local governance in their favor especially during the campaigns. Our analysis also suggests that candidates in local Mexican elections face a more precarious and dangerous situation compared to recently-elected authorities.
      PubDate: 2019-09-13
  • Pathways into organized crime: comparing founders and joiners
    • Abstract: This paper outlines research on the engagement processes and pathways into organised crime (OC). In recent years research on OC has increased, however there is still little understanding of how individuals become engaged in OC, and specifically whether differences exist in engagement patterns between certain groups of OC offenders. A content analysis was undertaken on the auto/biographies of one-hundred OC offenders to collect data on engagement processes. Quantitative analysis was used to identify significant differences in the engagement processes between OC offenders who join (‘joiners’) or form (‘founders’) an OC operation. The results revealed that measures pertaining to risk-factors, criminal trajectories, turning points, criminal motivations and social influences in engagement statistically differed between the groups. It was concluded that ‘founders’ were influenced by short-term criminal opportunities and economic considerations towards OC engagement, whilst ‘joiners’ were impacted more so by long-term social dynamics arising from ties and exposure to OC, such as one’s parents being engaged in OC. Both groups however, directly engaged through social dynamics. The current study provides preliminary findings which increase academic and practical understanding of the OC fraternity, but also the findings offer a basis on which to target legal interventions. Additionally, the new knowledge may be instrumental for building theories of OC engagement. Specifically, it is theorised that the circumstances in how ‘joiners’ become engaged in OC represents a ‘contagion process’.
      PubDate: 2019-09-12
  • Structure, multiplexity, and centrality in a corruption network: the Czech
           Rath affair
    • Abstract: The present study is an analysis of a Czech political corruption network known as the Rath affair reconstructed with publicly available data. We argue that for the study of criminal networks it is fruitful to follow a multiplex approach, i.e., to distinguish several interdependent network dimensions and study how they are interrelated. Relational elements in corruption are identified, and we propose three dimensions that are essential for understanding the Rath network: pre-existing ties (e.g., marriage or co-membership of the same party), resource transfer (e.g., bribing), and collaboration (e.g., communication). The aim of the study was threefold. We aimed to examine if the network exhibits the core/periphery structure, to investigate the multiplex structure of the network by assessing the overlap of the main dimensions of the network, and to determine the central and multiplex actors while considering the differentiation of centrality according to the three network dimensions. The core/periphery model appears to have a perfect fit to the aggregated network, leading to a four-block adjacency matrix. Studying the frequency of ties in these blocks shows that collaboration ties are present in all the blocks, while resource transfer ties are mainly located between the core and periphery, and pre-existing ties are rare generally. We also identify central actors, none of which are strategically positioned, occupying more visible positions instead. The majority of actors display strong multiplexity in the composition of their own ties. In the conclusion the potential usefulness of multiplex descriptive measures and of mixed methods approaches, implications of our results for trust incriminal networks, and potential merits of analytical sociology approach are discussed.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • Illegal fishing and fisheries crime as a transnational organized crime in
    • Abstract: Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is increasingly drawing international attention and coastal states strengthen their efforts to address it as a matter of priority due to its severe implications for food, economic, environmental and social security. As the largest archipelagic country in the world, this is especially problematic for Indonesia. In this already complex geographical and security environment, the authors test the hypothesis that IUU fishing and fisheries crime(s) classify as transnational organized criminal activities. The article argues that IUU fishing is much more than simply a fisheries management issue, since it goes hand in hand with fisheries crime. As a result, although the two concepts are quite distinct, they are so closely interlinked and interrelated throughout the entire value chain of marine fisheries, that they can only be managed effectively collectively by understanding them both within the framework of transnational organized crime. To make this argument, the research utilizes qualitative and quantitative data collected from approximately two thousand trafficked fishers, rescued in 2015 from slavery conditions while stranded in two remote Indonesian locations: Benjina on Aru island and on Ambon island. The article’s findings also unveil new trends relating to the inner workings of the illegal fishing industry, in four different, yet interlinked categories: recruitment patterns and target groups; document forgery; forced labor and abuse; and fisheries violations. The paper concludes by confirming the hypothesis and highlights that IUU fishing provides the ideal (illegal) environment for fisheries crimes and other forms of transnational organized crimes to flourish.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • Corruption among mayors: evidence from Italian court of cassation
    • Abstract: This study focuses on Italian corruption among mayors, since they are key players in the Italian institutions. Political decentralization has brought local government closer to the citizens while allowing a more direct expression of democracy on the part of mayors. In this study, we analyse the probability of mayors committing crime with i) external actors, i.e., entrepreneurs, professionals or other politicians, ii) mafia-type organizations or iii) actors within the municipality, such as council members, cabinet members and council employees. As the main data source, the study relies on the judgments of the Italian Court of Cassation. The results show that i) mayors represent an important gateway for external groups for awarding public contracts and misappropriating public funds, and ii) mayors linked to mafia-type groups are usually merely the executors of the criminal activity, whereas the mafiosi are the planners.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • Criminological reflections on the regulation and governance of labour
    • Abstract: The regulation and governance of labour exploitation is a well-researched area across numerous disciplines. Common approaches towards regulating labour exploitation in businesses and supply chains include state interventions to tackle organised crime via the criminal justice system. However, due to strict criminal-legal definitions, these interventions are only possible when targeting severe exploitation. This emphasis means that a large amount of non-criminalised exploitation risks being overlooked. The purpose of this paper is to argue that non-state regulation is an important element in preventing routinised forms of labour exploitation, whereby a criminological perspective would help to understand and better prevent such practices. The paper examines state regulation, self-regulation of businesses, and trade union activity, which together addresses a wider range of labour exploitation. Semi-structured interviews from workers and supply chain stakeholders in the UK agri-food industry are used to inform this discussion. The governance of labour exploitation in relation to business activities has broader implications for the disciplinary areas of regulation and (corporate) criminology, whereby the former tends to prioritise restorative and persuasive approaches, whereas the latter focuses on deterrence and coercion. Ultimately, drawing together different strands of regulation into a hybrid approach is useful not only due to socio-political processes, but is arguably the most helpful in addressing routinised exploitation.
      PubDate: 2019-07-18
  • The variable and evolving nature of ‘cuckooing’ as a form of criminal
           exploitation in street level drug markets
    • Abstract: A form of criminal exploitation rarely mentioned in the academic literature has recently emerged, evolved and taken meaningful hold in the UK. Hundreds of cases of ‘cuckooing’ have been reported, where heroin and crack cocaine dealers associated with the so-called ‘County Lines’ supply methodology have taken over the homes of local residents and created outposts to facilitate their supply operations in satellite locations. Dominant narratives surrounding this practice have stressed its exploitative nature and the vulnerabilities of those involved. Combining qualitative data from two studies, this paper critically analyses the model of cuckooing and the experiences of those affected. In turn it explores the impact of County Lines on affected areas and local populations, a topic that has received little academic scrutiny. Four typologies of cuckooing are constructed, highlighting its variance and complexity. Findings also suggest it to be a growing method of criminal exploitation beyond drug supply with a possible burgeoning presence being realised internationally.
      PubDate: 2019-06-21
  • The roles and actions of sex traffickers in Cyprus: an overview
    • Abstract: While the preponderance of delineation, exploration, and analysis of human trafficking concentrates on the victimization of trafficked people, the offenders’ criminal partaking is often left unexplored. That said, this study aims to examine the conundrum of human trafficking by exploring the traffickers’ demographics, tactics, connections, and collaborations. In order to accomplish this, data are drawn from the content analysis of 102 police interviews (Cyprus Police) with victims of trafficking and the study of police files of 18 persons convicted for human trafficking and sexual exploitation. In short (and contrary to widely held beliefs), the findings point out that human trafficking in Cyprus is not premised on well-established criminal syndicates with deep roots and solid networking, nor is dominated by cruel tactics actuated by meticulous crooks, linked to corrupt officials.
      PubDate: 2019-06-21
  • Correction to: Accounting for turbulence in the Colombian underworld
    • Abstract: The original version of this article contained a typesetting mistake. Map 1 image was incorrect. The original article has been corrected.
      PubDate: 2019-06-01
  • Violence and electoral competition: criminal organizations and municipal
           candidates in Mexico
    • Abstract: This article evaluates the effects of violence related to the operations of drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs) on electoral competition, defined by the number of electoral alternatives or candidates in Mexico’s municipal elections. I find that the killing and threatening of politicians, which are effective tools to influence politics, jeopardizes competition in violent Mexican municipalities by reducing the number of candidates. This result is not only probabilistically robust but also meaningful. The number of candidates can fall to one in the more violent municipalities. However, DTOs can also provide (illegal) funding to politicians to facilitate their candidacies. I find that as confrontation intensifies among DTOs, the negative effect of violence on electoral competition moderates. This finding suggests that DTOs finance candidates to capture municipal governments when facing intense competition and attacks from other DTOs. In addition, DTOs in this context may also provide protection to their preferred candidates from other competing organizations. These factors temper the negative effect of violence on electoral competition.
      PubDate: 2019-06-01
  • Brazilian criminal organizations as transnational violent non-state
           actors: a case study of the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC)
    • Abstract: This article aims to analyze the evolution of Brazilian criminal organization Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC—First Command of the Capital), especially its transformation from a group advocating human rights to a transnational violent non-state actor. Created in the late 1990s by inmates at Taubate Prison, PCC is currently a key trigger of violence in South America. Since a massive attack performed in 2006 against security forces, the group continues to be highly operative, also coordinating drugs and arms smuggling in Brazil and abroad. A combination of sources supported this analysis of PCC’s evolution, mainly Brazilian official judicial minutes, NGOs reports, and news released from reputable sources. The article shows that PCC has gained strength in the 2010s, expanding illicit business operations in cooperation with other criminal groups. The results suggest that PCC’s expansion has changed significantly since their beginnings, into an actor that poses a challenge for the building of peaceful society in all of South America.
      PubDate: 2019-06-01
  • Mexican cartel negotiative interactions with the state
    • Abstract: This research applies pure sociology to the negotiation activity of Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). By operationalizing status along several social dimensions, the author employs crisp set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (cs QCA) to identify unique status configurations associated with negotiative interactions with the state. The results indicate that high status configurations are unique to groups that utilize negotiations in a particular territory. These findings provide further insight into the different positions of strength from which DTOs will pursue non-violent activity.
      PubDate: 2019-06-01
  • Organized crime, violence, and territorial dispute in Mexico
    • Abstract: In the wake of so-called “hardline policies” against criminal groups (persecution, militarization, strengthening of security apparatuses), we take a comprehensive approach to the study of violent territorial disputes. We offer features for studying the violence attributed to organized crime, particularly in Mexico from 2007 to 2011, a time known as the “War on Drugs”; we identify characteristics of the drug-related criminal organizations in Mexico; further we show different strategies for the use of and dispute for territory. We propose four components that give us a better understanding of organized-crime groups: economic activities, ability to negotiate with other cartels, relations with state authorities, and strength of local roots.
      PubDate: 2019-06-01
  • Accounting for turbulence in the Colombian underworld
    • Abstract: Organized crime groups (OCGs) fight against each other even if it harms their businesses and exposes them to law enforcement authorities. Why do some groups refrain from fighting, while others operate in the incessantly violent underworld' To explain this puzzle, we propose that the underworld conflict is related to the strategies of extra-legal governance adopted by OCGs. We suggest that such strategies have origins in the availability of resources within the groups reach at their entrance into the underworld. More specifically, OCGs with access to easily extractable resources develop limited governance, which leaves them vulnerable to internal and external challenges. OCGs without access to easily extractable resources invest in extended governance, reducing their risk of underworld conflict. This article illustrates this hypothesis in the comparative case study of the Colombian organized crime, supported by new quantitative data.
      PubDate: 2019-06-01
  • Policing labor trafficking in the United States
    • Abstract: Despite new mandates to identify and respond to labor trafficking crimes, US law enforcement struggles to integrate labor trafficking enforcement with traditional policing routines and roles. As a result, human trafficking enforcement has primarily focused on sex trafficking and few labor trafficking cases have been identified and prosecuted. This study utilizes data from 86 qualitative interviews with municipal, state, county and federal law enforcement, victim service providers and labor trafficking victims in four US communities to inform our understanding of police responses to labor trafficking in local communities. Through the coding of these interviews across a series of themes, we identify three major challenges that impact police identification and response to labor trafficking crimes. These include lack of clarity about the definition of labor trafficking, lack of institutional readiness to address labor trafficking, and routines of police work that undermine police responsiveness to labor trafficking in local communities. Considering these challenges, we explore strategies law enforcement can take to improve identification, including developing non-traditional partnerships with labor inspection and local regulatory agencies. Additionally, interview data suggest a role for the police in ensuring labor trafficking victims are safe and their needs are met, regardless of the outcomes of the criminal justice process. This is the first study to examine police responses to labor trafficking from the perspective of police, service providers and victims.
      PubDate: 2019-05-28
  • Criminal networks in a digitised world: on the nexus of borderless
           opportunities and local embeddedness
    • Abstract: This article presents the results of empirical analyses of the use of information technology (IT) by organized crime groups. In particular, it explores how the use of IT affects the processes of origin and growth of criminal networks. The empirical data presented in this article consist of 30 large scale criminal investigations into organized crime, including traditional organized crime, traditional organized crime in which IT is an innovative element, low tech cybercrimes and high tech cybercrimes. Networks involved in cybercrimes or traditional crimes with an innovative IT element can be characterized as a mixture of old school criminals that have a long criminal career, and a limited number of technically skilled members. Furthermore, almost all cases have a local dimension. Also the cybercrime cases. Dutch sellers of drugs on online marketplace, for example, mainly work for customers in the Netherlands and surrounding countries.
      PubDate: 2019-05-04
  • Criminal markets: the dark web, money laundering and counterstrategies -
           An overview of the 10th Research Conference on Organized Crime
    • Abstract: On 10–11 October 2018, the 10th Research Conference on Organized Crime took place in The Hague. This year’s theme was Criminal Markets: The Dark Web, Money Laundering and Counterstrategies. Researchers, practitioners and policy makers gathered to discuss research results, trends and policy issues. This article looks into recent developments on the topics mentioned and gives an overview of the conference.
      PubDate: 2019-04-26
  • Intergenerational transmission and organised crime. A study of seven
           families in the south of the Netherlands
    • Abstract: Kinship ties play an important role in organised crime, but little attention has been paid as yet to criminal families and intergenerational transmission of delinquent behaviour as well as criminal ‘leadership.’ This paper presents the results of an in-depth study of seven families in the south of the Netherlands that produced a leader of a criminal group in at least one generation. In almost every generation, most male and female members of these families have criminal records, but intergenerational transmission of criminal leadership has so far occurred in only two families. There is a range of risk factors that promote criminal behaviour across generations, but an important explanation is that family members select their partners and friends from their own closed and deviant subcultures, and seem to favour those who have already developed criminal track records. Apart from risk factors at the individual, family and social environment levels, criminal behaviour was also stimulated by the seven families quickly taking advantage of emerging crime markets, particularly ecstasy production and indoor cannabis cultivation from the 1990s onwards.
      PubDate: 2019-03-19
  • Organised crime in Latin America: an introduction to the special issue
    • Abstract: This article provides an introduction to the articles submitted to the special issue of Trends in Organised Crime on ‘Organised Crime in Latin America’. The aim of the special issue is to draw together novel empirical research findings and theoretical accounts on various aspects of organised crime in the particular geographic context.
      PubDate: 2019-03-08
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