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Trends in Organized Crime
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.26
Citation Impact (citeScore): 1
Number of Followers: 547  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1936-4830 - ISSN (Online) 1084-4791
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2643 journals]
  • Cross-jurisdictional review of Australian legislation governing outlaw
           motorcycle gangs
    • Abstract: Abstract This paper presents a review of the key Australian legislation passed between 2009 and 2019 targeting outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs). It identifies the key similarities and differences across the reforms and provides examples of the legislation being used to disrupt serious and organised crime activity by OMCGs. It also presents some of the barriers to effective enforcement of the legislation. There is limited information about the use and effectiveness of the legislation. The paper considers some of the objections raised in respect of these measures and suggests future directions for responding to OMCG-related crime.
      PubDate: 2021-03-05
  • Criminal procedure reform and the impact on homicide: evidence from Mexico
    • Abstract: Abstract While significant efforts have been made to reform the criminal justice system across Latin America, we do not know the conditions under which reform effectively deters homicide, one of many goals of the reform. Drawing on a novel sub-national design in Mexico, I find that criminal procedure reforms aimed at improving due process are not sufficient for deterring homicide in places where non-state actors (i.e. drug cartels) effectively challenge the state’s monopoly of violence. I argue that in these settings, citizens are less willing to cooperate with the formal system of justice - despite reform efforts. Without society cooperation, the prosecution is less equipped to investigate, prosecute, and solve crime, resulting in impunity and little deterrence. Importantly, where the state maintains its monopoly of violence, reform is associated with less homicide. In selecting remedies to combat violent crime, therefore, different communities need to pursue different strategies, suggesting that the State can deter violence through fairness.
      PubDate: 2021-03-01
  • A world fit for money laundering: the Atlantic alliance’s undermining of
           organized crime control
    • Abstract: Abstract This is the untold history of how prominent civil servants in the UK tailored US-devised anti-money laundering (AML) policies in ways that suited the needs of Britain’s financial services industry. In the aftermath of these initial compromises in 1987, criminal money managers in both the US and the UK were able to continue to operate in an environment that easily allowed them to hide and use dirty money. The researchers analysed six months of previously unseen personal correspondence and documents exchanged between various actors in the UK Government during 1987. From this they conclude that the core of the current, global AML regime, was not the destruction of drug money laundering and banking secrecy, nor the ending of criminal financial enablers and with it hot money; rather it was the protection and leverage of national trading interests on both sides of the Atlantic. And the drive to protect these interests would see crime control laws made, amended and changed to cater for the interests of the US and UK banking and finance industries. The file had been classified as secret and held by the UK Treasury until it was released to the public in 2017 as an archive document transferred to The National Archives in accordance with The Public Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act.
      PubDate: 2021-03-01
  • Incapacity, pathology, or expediency' Revisiting accounts of data and
           analysis weaknesses underpinning international efforts to combat organised
    • Abstract: Abstract Organised crime saw swift ascent as a security priority for the international community after the end of the Cold War. High political excitement surrounded the subject of organised crime, accompanied by an apparently bottomless demand for calculations of its magnitude and attendant risks. Over ensuing decades, concerns were repeatedly raised about the limitations afflicting pertinent cross-national data and related analysis. To date, debates about the stubbornly weak empirical underpinnings of UN and EU efforts to combat organised crime have tended to attribute the ultimate source of such limitations to either issues of capacity (political or technical) or bureaucratic self-interest, thereby portraying states essentially as either inadequate or insignificant actors. Drawing on insights from scholarship on the rise of the security state and the political exploitation of policy against organised crime, this paper suggests that the role of states in producing and sustaining the weaknesses of such policy may have been unduly discounted.
      PubDate: 2021-03-01
  • The rise of shaming paternalism in Japan: recent tendencies in the
           Japanese criminal justice system
    • Abstract: Abstract The ‘reintegrative shaming’ and ‘benevolent paternalism’ models, traditionally used to describe the Japanese criminal justice system, have been periodically criticised for their orientalist approach. Nevertheless, no critique addressed the fact that these models ignored the presence of long-lasting crime syndicates, the yakuza, in Japan. Meanwhile, since 1991 the Japanese government has passed different sets of anti-yakuza countermeasures, increasingly punitive towards members and ex-members of the criminal group, that transferred more policing and surveillance duties to common citizens. In light of the evolution of anti-yakuza countermeasures in the past 25 years, this article argues that an analysis of these laws and regulations can provide a chance to reappraise the ‘reintegrative shaming/benevolent paternalism’ models, and proposes ‘shaming paternalism’ as a more realistic description of the current Japanese criminal justice system. According to this model, criminals are shamed and struggle to reintegrate, and the state’s intrusiveness is operated at various stages. Given the gap in English-speaking literature regarding this topic, firstly the contents of anti-yakuza countermeasures are outlined, followed by an evaluation of their effects on the yakuza population. The levels of reintegration of ex-yakuza members are considered, corroborating the hypothesis that the contemporary Japanese criminal justice system is not focussed on reintegration: actually, the most recent tendencies show an increase in punitiveness and stigmatisation. The paper argues that this trend can be understood as an index of increasing authoritarianism in the Japanese government, and concludes that civil engagement is the only viable option of resistance.
      PubDate: 2021-03-01
  • Criminal assets recovery in Sweden
    • PubDate: 2021-03-01
  • Correction to: Networked territorialism: the routes and roots of organised
    • Abstract: A Correction to this paper has been published:
      PubDate: 2021-02-10
  • ‘Through a glass darkly’: organised crime and money laundering policy
           reflections - an introduction to the special issue
    • Abstract: Abstract This paper provides some reflections on the articles and the report excerpt included in the special issue of Trends in Organised Crime on organised crime and money laundering policy. The aim of this special issue to invite the reader to re-examine conventional wisdom in this issue area. The papers in this special issue emphasise the variation in policy measures, as they articulate the interplay between national and transnational controls, or focus on the national level but in a comparative way.
      PubDate: 2021-01-09
  • Correction to: Survey research with gang and non-gang members in prison:
           operational lessons from the LoneStar Project
    • Abstract: A Correction to this paper has been published:
      PubDate: 2021-01-04
  • The poverty business: landlords, illicit practices and reproduction of
           disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Czechia
    • Abstract: Abstract This paper is guided by the question: How do illicit practices of organized groups contribute to the formation and reproduction of disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Czechia' By asking this question we depart from the dominant understanding of disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the study of organized crime. Instead of seeing them as “breeding grounds of organized crime”, it is explored how regular neighbourhoods can decline as a result of illicit practices carried out by certain organized groups. The context of the paper is the so-called “poverty business”, which refers to the renting of overpriced, substandard housing, financed considerably using housing benefits and thus exploiting the housing need of vulnerable social groups, namely Roma. Using the literature on Roma marginalization and illicit housing practices, an analytical framework that consists of the concepts of speculation, exploitation and liquidation is created and applied to two cases of disadvantaged neighbourhoods: “the Hostel” in Brno and “the Neighbourhood” in Litvínov. In conclusion, the adequacy of the organized crime perspective is critically discussed and the need for further research articulated.
      PubDate: 2021-01-03
  • Gangs in the El Paso-Juárez borderland: the role of history and geography
           in shaping criminal subcultures
    • Abstract: 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: 2020-12-01
  • The organisational structure of transnational narcotics trafficking groups
           in Southeast Asia: a case study of Vietnam’s border with Laos
    • Abstract: Abstract The Golden Triangle—the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar converge—is considered one of the most complicated narcotics-trafficking hotspots in the world. More research is needed, however, to understand the supply and demand resources as well as the overall structure of transnational narcotics trafficking (TransNT) in this area and neighboring regions. The present paper provides an in-depth examination of the organisational structure of TransNT in the borderland between Vietnam and Laos, using multiple qualitative approaches to identify four key aspects of trafficking groups in this area: namely, group size, the relative centrality of lead actors in the trafficking networks, the flexibility and adaptability of network operations, and the personal attributes of traffickers. Depending on the number of drug traffickers involved, TransNT in Vietnam can be separated into small, medium, and large-scale groups; however, drug markets in Vietnam are not controlled by monopolistic groups or ‘cartels’. Notably, cross-border networks tend to have a fluid structure characterised by a sophisticated modus operandi from the preparation stages to the later stages of trafficking activity, enabling the criminal networks to achieve their goals.
      PubDate: 2020-12-01
  • The variable and evolving nature of ‘cuckooing’ as a form of criminal
           exploitation in street level drug markets
    • Abstract: 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: 2020-12-01
  • Differentiating criminal networks in the illegal wildlife trade:
           organized, corporate and disorganized crime
    • Abstract: Abstract Historically, the poaching of wildlife was portrayed as a small-scale local activity in which only small numbers of wildlife would be smuggled illegally by collectors or opportunists. Nowadays, this image has changed: criminal networks are believed to be highly involved in wildlife trafficking, which has become a significant area of illicit activity. Even though wildlife trafficking has become accepted as a major area of crime and an important topic and criminologists have examined a variety of illegal wildlife markets, research that specifically focusses on the involvement of different criminal networks and their specific nature is lacking. The concept of a ‘criminal network’ or ‘serious organized crime’ is amorphous – getting used interchangeably and describes all crime that is structured rather than solely reflecting crime that fits within normative definitions of ‘organized’ crime. In reality, criminal networks are diverse. As such, we propose categories of criminal networks that are evidenced in the literature and within our own fieldwork: (1) organized crime groups (2) corporate crime groups and (3) disorganized criminal networks. Whereas there are instances when these groups act alone, this article will (also) discuss the overlap and interaction that occurs between our proposed categories and discuss the complicated nature of the involved criminal networks as well as predictions as to the future of these networks.
      PubDate: 2020-12-01
  • The roles and actions of sex traffickers in Cyprus: an overview
    • Abstract: 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: 2020-12-01
  • Making sense of professional enablers’ involvement in laundering
           organized crime proceeds and of their regulation
    • Abstract: Abstract Money laundering has ascended the enforcement and criminological agenda in the course of this century, and has been accompanied by an increased focus on legal professionals as ‘enablers’ of crime. This article explores the dynamics of this enforcement, media and political agenda, and how the legal profession has responded in the UK and elsewhere, within the context of ignoring the difficulties of judging the effectiveness of anti money laundering. It concludes that legal responses are a function of their lobbying power, the determination of governments to clamp down on the toxic impacts of legal structures, and different legal cultures. However, it remains unclear what the effects on the levels and organization of serious crimes for gain are of controls on the professions.
      PubDate: 2020-11-26
  • An exploration of organized crime in Italian ports from an institutional
           perspective. Presence and activities
    • Abstract: Abstract The article will present the results of a qualitative research into organized crime in the Italian port system. It is a pioneering attempt to assess an extensive and diachronic perspective on the presence and activities of organized crime groups into the Italian seaports in order to provide a systematic analytical map through the analysis of institutional law enforcement reports. The article attempts to shed light on an overlooked topic, analytically relevant insofar as it examines OCGs’s activities in a specific and particular space representing an opportunity to obtain profits and social connections. Moreover, it analyses OCGs tendency to be involved in legal and illegal businesses, their ability to persist in space and time, and their skills in moving abroad. The results show that organized crime activities are permanent and largely widespread in the main harbours all over the country, particularly in Ancona, Cagliari, Genova and Gioia Tauro; organized crime groups operate mostly in illegal business and in particular in illicit trafficking of drugs, cigarettes and counterfeit goods; the Italian mafia ‘ndrangheta seems to be able to persist in space and time within several seaports. The study shows that simultaneous processes of specialization in illegal markets and diversification in seaports are ongoing.
      PubDate: 2020-11-14
  • Contested borders: organized crime, governance, and bordering practices in
           Colombia-Venezuela borderlands
    • Abstract: Abstract Based on the conceptualizations of organized crime as both an enterprise and a form of governance, borderland as a spatial category, and borders as institutions, this paper looks at the politics of bordering practices by organized crime in the Colombian-Venezuelan borderlands. It posits that contrary to the common assumptions about transnational organized crime, criminal organizations not only blur or erode the border but rather enforce it to their own benefit. In doing so, these groups set norms to regulate socio-spatial practices, informal and illegal economies, and migration flows, creating overlapping social orders and, lastly, (re)shaping the borderland. Theoretically, the analysis brings together insights from political geography, border studies, and organized crime literature, while empirically, it draws on direct observation, criminal justice data, and in-depth interviews.
      PubDate: 2020-11-12
  • Under a setting sun: the spatial displacement of the yakuza and their
           longing for visibility
    • Abstract: Abstract Spaces occupied by organised crime are usually kept secret, hidden, invisible. Japanese criminal syndicates, the yakuza, made instead visibility a key feature of the spaces they occupy through an overt display of their presence in the territory: in the past, a yakuza headquarter could have been instantly recognised by the crest and group name emblazoned on the front wall. However, recent changes in legislation have restrictively regulated these spaces, and the hygienisation of central neighbourhoods that used to be vital loci of yakuza activity has eroded the visibility of the groups. The intensification of the neoliberal drive took these processes to the extreme: political élites are urging to hide the yakuza from international scrutiny. Meanwhile, gentrification and temporary fortification of big cities have already changed the urban landscape and expelled elements of visual disturbance: marginal and dangerous ‘others’ such as the yakuza and the homeless. This article explores the relationship between organised crime and (in)visibility through the unusual case of a criminal group that ironically strives for visibility, and aims to investigate the socio-spatial consequences of the invisibilisation of the yakuza. Based on interviews and institutional documents, this article focuses on the wards of Kabukichō (Tokyo) and Nakasu (Fukuoka) – traditionally spaces of yakuza presence – examining how the increasing grip of the politics of surveillance over urbanscapes and the consequent spatial displacement of the yakuza induced a change in the yakuza’s relationship with their surroundings. As a result, it is argued, this is further contributing to the emergence of new forms of crime challenging the yakuza’s historical monopoly of the underworld.
      PubDate: 2020-11-06
  • More Amazon than Mafia: analysing a DDoS stresser service as organised
    • Abstract: Abstract The internet mafia trope has shaped our knowledge about organised crime groups online, yet the evidence is largely speculative and the logic often flawed. This paper adds to current knowledge by exploring the development, operation and demise of an online criminal group as a case study. In this article we analyse a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) stresser (also known as booter) which sells its services online to enable offenders to launch attacks. Using Social Network Analysis to explore the service operations and payment systems, our findings show a central business model that is similar to legitimate e-commerce websites in the way product, price and costumers are differentiated. It also illustrates that its organisation is distributed and not hierarchical and the overall income yield is comparatively low, requiring further organisational activity to make it pay. Finally, we show that the users of the service (mainly offenders) are not only a mixed group of actors, but that it is also possible to discriminate between different levels of seriousness of offending according to the particular service they purchased.
      PubDate: 2020-11-04
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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