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Trends in Organized Crime
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.26
Citation Impact (citeScore): 1
Number of Followers: 541  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1936-4830 - ISSN (Online) 1084-4791
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2626 journals]
  • Illicit/cheap cigarettes in South Africa
    • Abstract: Abstract Using wave 5 of the National Income Dynamics Study (conducted in 2017), this paper investigates the market for very low-priced cigarettes in South Africa, which, in all probability, are illicit. Since the sum of the excise tax and VAT in 2017 amounted to R16.30 (1.22 USD) per pack, any cigarettes selling for R20 (1.50 USD) per pack or less are likely to be illicit, assuming reasonable production costs. By this definition, approximately 30% of cigarettes consumed in South Africa in 2017 were illicit. Illicit cigarettes are found across all nine provinces. At the margin, the purchase of illicit cigarettes is associated with lower socio-economic characteristics, such as having lower levels of income and education. As illicit cigarettes undermine both the fiscal and health agendas of tobacco taxation policy, these results highlight the need for the South African government to implement urgently effective measures in order to curb illicit trade.
      PubDate: 2020-09-01
  • Intergenerational transmission and organised crime. A study of seven
           families in the south of the Netherlands
    • Abstract: 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: 2020-09-01
  • Country report on extortion racketeering in the hospitality sector –
           United Kingdom
    • PubDate: 2020-09-01
  • Pathways into organized crime: comparing founders and joiners
    • Abstract: 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: 2020-09-01
  • From horticulture to psychonautics: an analysis of online communities
           discussing and trading plants with psychotropic properties
    • Abstract: Abstract This study is a spinoff of the cross-disciplinary project “FloraGuard: Tackling the Illegal Trade in Endangered Plants”, and focuses on the analysis of online forums dedicated to the discussion and the trades of plant species, often highly endangered in nature, that are sought after for their psychotropic properties. The study sheds light on the interesting but overlooked area of the intersection of environmental crimes, illegal online trades, and drug use. Some species of conservation concern have known psychoactive/analgesic properties; as these properties are now openly and broadly discussed in specialised online communities, attention is required both as regards the potential for health-related harms suffered by reckless users, and for environmental-related harms for the species in question.
      PubDate: 2020-07-08
  • Criminal assets recovery in Sweden
    • PubDate: 2020-06-08
  • Combating trafficking of Hungarian women to Western Europe: a multi-level
           analysis of the international law enforcement cooperation
    • Abstract: Abstract Human trafficking is an increasing field of academic research, but the obstacles of investigation and prosecution of traffickers is still under-researched. This article analyses the challenges of prosecution of criminal groups facilitating the prostitution of Hungarian women to Western European countries by focusing on international cooperation of law enforcement agencies. Although the scientific literature mostly focuses on the influence of international agreements on national level policing, based on a multilevel analysis, the current article scrutinizes the organizational and individual dimensions in transnational policing and the implementation of the anti-trafficking measures in practice. Despite the aims of the global prohibition regime, victim-focus approach in human trafficking remains neglected by large  in the Hungarian practice. The article is based on structured interviews with members of law enforcement agencies, observation of court trials, legal documents and secondary written sources on the investigation of organized crime in Hungary.
      PubDate: 2020-06-01
  • A mixed methods social network analysis of a cross-border drug network:
           the Fernando Sanchez organization (FSO)
    • Abstract: Abstract This study is a mixed methods case study of the Fernando Sanchez Organization (FSO) better known as the Tijuana Cartel in the 2008–2010 period, aimed at better understanding internal structures and the roles of individuals in crossborder polydrug networks under pressures from rivals and state leadership targeting. In addition to historical archival data to build a qualitative case study, it uses arrest warrant data (an emergency wiretap application and a Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act or RICO indictment) from the FSO drug network investigation in order to visualize the structure of the cross border network and to explore research questions regarding the relationship between actor centrality/network topography metrics and variables of interest including organizational role, age, gender, number of prior arrests, location of criminal activity, and location of residence using social network analysis (SNA). Findings included: narcotics distributors, drug couriers, and enforcers for the network all had higher centrality in the network, age was only slightly negatively correlated with eigenvector centrality, gender had no bearing on centrality, the number of prior arrests also had no bearing on degree or betweenness centrality, but did positively correlate with eigenvector centrality. Findings also demonstrated faction subgroup analysis had considerable overlap with both law-enforcement-reported-address and location of criminal activity (coded as actor attributes). This finding suggests it may be possible to predict the location of criminal activity and residence through faction analysis in other binational trafficking networks.
      PubDate: 2020-06-01
  • Projected heroes and self-perceived manipulators: understanding the
           duplicitous identities of human traffickers
    • Abstract: Abstract This qualitative inquiry examines human trafficker identities through stories from convicted offenders. Thematic findings suggest that the projected-identity of sex traffickers may be different from their true self-identity. Identity regulation to produce the appropriate individual by situation facilitates both improvisational and patterned methods of victim recruitment. Sex traffickers exercise their coercive power predominately through the use of deception and fraud, projecting themselves as “honest heroes” and “lovers” of their victims. Rather than using force to perpetually repress victims, sex traffickers more frequently gain compliance by building a trauma bond with their victims, who are also typically found at the margins of society. Recruitment into a commercial sexually exploitive victimization involves the perceived fulfillment of physiological and emotional needs, as well as strategic infusion of counterculture virtues. For tenured sex traffickers, force is normally only intermittently exercised to punish recalcitrant victims in a way that maintains the longevity of control through trauma bonding.
      PubDate: 2020-06-01
  • Performance and image enhancing drug (PIED) producers and suppliers: a
           retrospective content analysis of PIED-provider cases in Australia from
    • Abstract: Abstract Traditionally policymakers have paid little attention to the consumption of steroids and other performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) in Australia. Yet, in recent times PIEDs have come to occupy an increasing amount of discursive space and, indeed, regulatory action. This newfound interest may be attributed to several broader developments, not least the perception of the involvement of organized crime in distributing PIEDs to the professional sports world and other sectors of this illicit market. This paper seeks to explore the empirical reality of the claim that the production and supply of PIEDs in Australia is the prerogative of organized crime groups. A retrospective content analysis of Australian PIED provider cases was conducted between 2010 and 2016. To widen our search, both media articles describing court cases, obtained from the Factiva database, and public online court records, using the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) database, were searched. Search terms included “steroid*”, “doping” and “testosterone” in combination with the terms “traffic*”, “production”, “supply*” and “import*”. In total, 477 PIED provider cases were identified yet most cases were duplicates, irrelevant or lacked sufficient detail, resulting in a final dataset of 144 cases. A coding schedule was developed based on existing PIED supply literature. Our data shows that most PIED provider cases took place in Queensland (41.7%), followed by New South Wales (25%) and Victoria (13.2%). Regarding the type of providers, the largest group consisted of people active in the gym industry (22%), followed by the healthcare sector (17%), the ‘other’ category (12%) and the security sphere (8%). Of the 144 steroid-provider cases, only 12% of the cases indicated the potential involvement of organized crime groups, with half of those being linked to outlaw motorcycle gangs. In contrast to the claims of authorities, our data suggests that organized crime groups currently play a proportionally small role in the illicit production and supply of steroids and other performance and image enhancing drugs in Australia. Indeed, various actors are involved of which only a small fraction are part of or involved with organized crime groups. Many suppliers are particularly active in the gym industry and healthcare sector. The relative presence of such suppliers has important policy implications, not least with regard to the role of criminal law in addressing the provision of PIEDs.
      PubDate: 2020-06-01
  • Who are the enforcers' The motives and methods of muscle for hire in
           West Scotland and the West Midlands
    • Abstract: Abstract Enforcement, ranging from threats to intimidation to assault to homicide, has long been an established practice within criminal networks. However, comparatively little academic research exists about the nature and role of enforcers within and beyond the context of contract killings. Drawing on qualitative interviews with criminal enforcers from two contrasting sites within the UK—the West Scotland and the West Midlands—the current study examines the articulated, identifiable pathways into criminal enforcement. Also it examines the nuanced nature of enforcement and the roles those men commonly adopt within the context of organised crime, as well as the relationship between these men’s activity, the wider context of organised crime, and presence of social and cultural capital within it. This article provides insights into how one becomes an enforcer; how contact is made between all parties involved; the degree of planning involved; and costing arrangements, with important implications for research and practice.
      PubDate: 2020-05-21
  • 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: 2020-05-11
  • 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: 2020-05-06
  • 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: 2020-04-25
  • 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: 2020-04-14
  • Firearms and Injuries during Home Robberies in Mexico, 2010–2017
    • Abstract: Abstract According to data from Mexico’s National Crime Victimization and Public Security Surveys (ENVIPE), from 2010 through 2017, home robberies involving an interaction between a victim and an aggressor occurred every two minutes and resulted in more than 257,000 injuries. The objective of this study is to explore whether victims of home robberies in Mexico are more likely to report an injury if perpetrators are armed with a gun. This analysis compiles data from ENVIPE and runs a binary logistic regression. In contrast to literature on robberies in the United States and studies on street robberies in Mexico, results show that when perpetrators are armed with guns, victims of home robberies in Mexico are more likely to report an injury, even though these injuries are rarely caused by a gunshot. These discrepancies may be explained by different factors. Unlike in the United States, most gun-related crimes in Mexico are perpetrated by organized criminal groups that obtain firearms through illegal channels. Members of these groups are prepared to engage on physical violence against their victims. Additionally, unlike street robberies, the enclosed setting of home robberies might facilitate the use of physical violence as a strategy to coerce victims and successfully obtain profits without generating public attention. Overall, perpetrators use guns as a tool to exert control and avoid resistance. These findings suggest that policies to address organized crime and halt easy access to guns should be prioritized on Mexico’s national security agenda.
      PubDate: 2020-04-01
  • Comparing operational terrorist networks
    • Abstract: Abstract In this paper we provide a presentation of the most popular metrics and systematically apply them to seven terrorist networks studied in the literature and to three new ISIS-affiliated networks. This study then investigates the correlates between structural network characteristics and severity of the attack carried out by the terrorists. Such approach allows us to analyze these networks from several perspectives and to use them to discuss about the security/efficiency trade-off.
      PubDate: 2020-03-31
  • Recent publications on organized crime (2020–1)
    • PubDate: 2020-03-03
  • ‘Illegal labour practices, trafficking and exploitation’: an
           introduction to the special issue
    • Abstract: Abstract This an introduction to the articles submitted to the special issue of Trends in Organized Crime on ‘Illegal Labour Practices, Trafficking and Exploitation’. The aim of the special issue is to draw together empirical research findings and theoretical accounts on the wider context to illegal labour and exploitation that has implications for identification, detection, prevention and regulation.
      PubDate: 2020-02-11
  • Mafia organizations: the visible hand of criminal enterprise by Maurizio
    • PubDate: 2019-12-10
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Heriot-Watt University
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