Criminal organizations or organized crimes are taken to be transnational, national or local grouping of highly federal enterprise run by those who commit crimes with an objective of doing something unlawful, normally for monetary gains. A criminal organization can sometime force people to engage with them in business, like when a gang unlawfully takes money from shopkeepers in the name of protection (Siegel, 2008). This discussion is based on an organized crime (OC) group known as the Sicilian Mafia.
Silician Mafia originated in Sicily, Italy at around 1865. The Sicilian Mafia was characterized of powerful Sicilian families betrothed in criminal activities and violence to achieve substantial power of the local economic. The Sicilian Mafia group was originally formed to bring the Sicilian peasants in opposition of their enemies. The term mafia in Sicily was taken to denote manly. The Sicilian Mafia transformed from a set of respected Sicilian men to a structured criminal set in the 1920s (Voronin, 2011). Sicilian mafia has today evolved into a crime group that is organized both locally and internationally. A number of experts approximate it as the second largest organization in Italy, with an anticipated 2,500 Sicilian mafia affiliates (Abadinsky, 2007).
The Sicilian mafia is identified with many crimes that makes to be categorized amongst the OC groups. In the Silician capital, Palermo where I reside, close to about 80% of the small-scale businesses pay pizzo-protection money to the group. The Sicilian mafia is deemed to have prospered from the enormous building boom that was enjoyed in Sicily in the 1950s. Enchanting benefits of chance, the Sicilian mafia acquired control of the building agreements and extorted a lot of money. To date, the group is still gain a lot of money through extortion. As of 2008, the group extorted over £20 billion annually from the entire part of Sourthern Italy.
The Sicilian mafia is widely linked with unlawful enterprises like political corruption, giving out illegal liquor, gambling, trafficking of drugs and military, frauds, counterfeiting, and other crimes that are racketeering. These are enterprises in which unlawful contracts are entered into by the participants through agreements and arrangements. The Sicilian mafia employ threats or use of violence to make the participants cooperate and abide by their rules. The mafia come to power entry into lines of various criminal doings and the conduct of those protected under it. Thus, it has a characteristic of performing governmental duties in circumstances where the system of the legal judicial neglects to exercise control or is not capable of doing so (Friedman, 2002). On the other hand, the group subjects its members to an oath of silence and loyalty to ensure noncooperation with the law enforcers whenever one of the members is arrested. The outlay of bringing into force the noncooperation oath with the police is a task of the likelihood of time jail and arrest (Serio, 2008). The outlay is also a duty of the authorities struggle to come up with informants among the illegal group and weakness of the members of the group to such efforts. One outlay of performing the mafia’s noncooperation is exposing the violators of the oath to punishment. The Sicilian mafia not only devotes their resources to making sure that the members do not enter any agreement with the police, but also to demeaning the regulatory and legal authority.
A characteristic of this Sicilian mafia is the manipulation of the government, criminal justice and the law enforcement system. The Sicilian mafia thrive by bribing persons anywhere in the system of criminal justice. The criminal justice system can be the courts, corrections and police. Juries may be bribed, parole lifted, sentences reduced and there may be a dismissal of cases. In some instances, the mafia may agree to use the power they have to protect persons who are not under its protection. Therefore, performing the functions of the government in circumstances where the system of the legal judicial is not capable of doing so (Ethridge, 2008).
When governmental authority that is legitimate is corrupted, the government having the power to offer protection to its citizens may lose such power and lose businesses which are legitimate from criminal doings. An example is where fencing and theft attracts more than other crimes when the main offenders go unprosecuted. This not being as good as such, the sedition of the system of criminal justice permits the Sicilian mafia to scamper rackets of protection (Woodiwiss, 2001).
The influence of these group had great impact in Sicily particularly it capital Palermo. Development of the Sicilian city was hindered. This is because majority of profits earned by businesses in the city were awarded to the Sicilian group. Additionally the donor funds poured into the Sicilian economy ended up with the corrupt officials most of which had connection with the group. These officials rather enriched themselves than facilite development. Majority of Sicilians believed in wealth and the ways used to acquire this wealth was of no importance provided it went unnoticed or unpunished. To the matter worse, these officials joined with Sicilian mafia to exrtort public money leaving the Sicilian economy in a disaster. In addition, the Sicilian mafia controlled most of the public companies in Palermo. In this respect, jobs were given their close allies and relations or sold to people through bribes and other kickbacks like sex. This created a big gap in employment causing high unemployment rates. Furthermore, the presence of this group’s activities installed tension in people and hindered their participation in the growth of the economy.
The Sicilian mafia group portray attributes of an OC group. First and foremost, the group is an organized structure that facilitates criminal activities. Secondly, the group is involved in profits accumulation. The group gets profit by extorting money from the locals in various forms like protection money as mentioned above. Next, the group employs use of violence ro threats to pursue its members and other participants to comply with the groups requirements. Lastly, Sicilian mafia is involved in manipulation of government systems through bribes and assassinations of influential government officials. Generally, the Sicilian mafia is characterized by criminal doings that are profit oriented; that uses violence threat or violence that expends possessions to discourage its members from cooperating with the police, and that corrupts authority of the government that is legitimate (Hagan, 2010).
This topic is vital importance in uncovering the organized crimes and the impact it can have in locality, state or the world at large. The Sicilian mafia emerged at local level but develop to a state level anfd further to global level. It impact is felt in all these levels.