While stories of organized crime most often dwell on groups like the Mafia and Chinese Triad or Tongs, African Americans also have a long history of organized crime. Why have scholars and journalists paid so little attention to African American organized crime? What can a history of these criminal networks teach us about the social, political, and economic challenges that face African Americans today? What is specific to African American organized crime, and how do these networks differ from the criminal organizations of other racial and ethnic groups? How can a historical study of African American organized crime enrich our understanding of all criminal activity?
Rufus Schatzberg and Robert Kelly take us through almost a century of African American organized crime. Chapters focus on the numbers gambling that took place in New York City from 1920 to 1940, the criminal groups that operated in ghettos from the 1940s to the 1970s, and the gang activities that began in the 1970s and continues today. While providing a compelling analysis of African American organized crime, the authors also challenge existing stereotypes of African Americans and demonstrate the importance of studying any criminal activity within its historical and social context.
In the 1980s a poor farmer's son from Recife, Brazil, joined the Brazilian navy and began selling cocaine. After his arrest in Rio de Janeiro he spent the next eight years in prison, where he joined the Comando Vermelho criminal faction and eventually became one of its leaders. Robert Gay tells this young man's dramatic and captivating story in Bruno. In his shockingly candid interviews with Gay, Bruno provides many insights into the criminal world in which he lived: details of day-to-day prison life; the inner workings of the Brazilian drug trade; the structure of criminal factions; and the complexities of the relationships and links between the prisons, drug trade, gangs, police, and favelas. And most stunningly, Bruno's story suggests that Brazilian mismanagement of the prison system directly led to the Comando Vermelho and other criminal factions' expansion into Rio's favelas, where their turf wars and battles with police have terrorized the city for over two decades.
"Dr. Nelli . . . describes the kinds of crime that prevailed in Italian immigrant enclaves in America; like most American crime, then as now, Italian crime was one aspect of the so-called culture of urban poverty—boys graduated from street gangs to criminal gangs. None of these gangs were very big until Prohibition brought the Great Leap Forward, to a level that Dr. Nelli calls 'entrepreneurial crime.' His fine account makes sense of many murderous incidents, differentiates among places, and sketches individuals and the talents (Torrio's brains, Capone's brutality) that enabled them to rise in the underworld."—New Yorker
"A definitive history of organized crime in America."—American Historical Review
Through an analysis of transnational criminal networks originating in South America, this report presents operational characteristics of these networks, strategic alliances they have established, and the multiple threats that they pose to U.S. interests and to the stability of the countries where they operate. It also identifies U.S. government policies and programs to counter these networks and examines the military’s role in that context.
Since 1979 the Crime and Justice series has presented a review of the latest international research, providing expertise to enhance the work of sociologists, psychologists, criminal lawyers, justice scholars, and political scientists. The series explores a full range of issues concerning crime, its causes, and its cure.
Volume 40, Crime and Justice in Scandinavia, offers the most comprehensive and authoritative look ever available at criminal justice policies, practices, and research in the Nordic countries. Topics range from the history of violence through juvenile delinquency, juvenile justice, and sentencing to controversial contemporary policies on prostitution, victims, and organized crime. Contributors to this volume include Jon-Gunnar Bernburg, Ville Hinkkanen, Cecilie Høigård, Hanns von Hofer, Charlotta Holmström, Janne Kivivuori, Lars Korsell, Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, Paul Larsson, Martti Lehti, Torkild Hovde Lyngstad, Sven-Axel Månsson, Anita Rönneling, Lise-Lotte Rytterbro, Torbjørn Skardhamar, May-Len Skilbrei, and Henrik Tham.
Jonathan Lusthaus lifts the veil on cybercriminals in the most extensive account yet of the lives they lead and the vast international industry they have created. Having traveled to hotspots around the world to meet with hundreds of law enforcement agents, security gurus, hackers, and criminals, he charts how this industry based on anonymity works.
The Insane Chicago Way is the untold story of a daring plan by Chicago gangs in the 1990s to create a Spanish Mafia—and why it failed. John M. Hagedorn traces how Chicago Latino gang leaders, following in Al Capone’s footsteps, built a sophisticated organization dedicated to organizing crime and reducing violence. His lively stories of extensive cross-neighborhood gang organization, tales of police/gang corruption, and discovery of covert gang connections to Chicago’s Mafia challenge conventional wisdom and offer lessons for the control of violence today.
The book centers on the secret history of Spanish Growth & Development (SGD)—an organization of Latino gangs founded in 1989 and modeled on the Mafia’s nationwide Commission. It also tells a story within a story of the criminal exploits of the C-Note$, the “minor league” team of the Chicago’s Mafia (called the “Outfit”), which influenced the direction of SGD. Hagedorn’s tale is based on three years of interviews with an Outfit soldier as well as access to SGD’s constitution and other secret documents, which he supplements with interviews of key SGD leaders, court records, and newspaper accounts. The result is a stunning, heretofore unknown history of the grand ambitions of Chicago gang leaders that ultimately led to SGD’s shocking collapse in a pool of blood on the steps of a gang-organized peace conference.
The Insane Chicago Way is a compelling history of the lives and deaths of Chicago gang leaders. At the same time it is a sociological tour de force that warns of the dangers of organized crime while arguing that today’s relative disorganization of gangs presents opportunities for intervention and reductions in violence.
Mexican drug networks are large and violent, engaging in activities like the trafficking of narcotics, money laundering, extortion, kidnapping, and mass murder. Despite the impact of these activities in Mexico and abroad, these illicit networks are remarkably resilient to state intervention.
Drawing on extensive fieldwork and interviews with US and Mexican law enforcement, government officials, organized crime victims, and criminals, Nathan P. Jones examines the comparative resilience of two basic types of drug networks—“territorial” and “transactional”—that are differentiated by their business strategies and provoke wildly different responses from the state. Transactional networks focus on trafficking and are more likely to collude with the state through corruption, while territorial networks that seek to control territory for the purpose of taxation, extortion, and their own security often trigger a strong backlash from the state.
Timely and authoritative, Mexico's Illicit Drug Networks and the State Reaction provides crucial insight into why Mexico targets some drug networks over others, reassesses the impact of the war on drugs, and proposes new solutions for weak states in their battles with drug networks.
From the slot machine trust of the early 1900s to the prolific Prohibition era bootleggers allied with Al Capone, and for decades beyond, organized crime in Chicago Heights, Illinois, represented a vital component of the Chicago Outfit. Louis Corsino taps interviews, archives, government documents, and his own family's history to tell the story of the Chicago Heights "boys" and their place in the city's Italian American community in the twentieth century.
Debunking the popular idea of organized crime as a uniquely Italian enterprise, Corsino delves into the social and cultural forces that contributed to illicit activities. As he shows, discrimination blocked opportunities for Italians' social mobility and the close-knit Italian communities that arose in response to such limits produced a rich supply of social capital Italians used to pursue alternative routes to success that ranged from Italian grocery stores to union organizing to, on occasion, crime.
The United States–Mexico border zone is one of the busiest and most dangerous in the world. NAFTA and rapid industrialization on the Mexican side have brought trade, travel, migration, and consequently, organized crime and corruption to the region on an unprecedented scale. Until recently, crime at the border was viewed as a local law enforcement problem with drug trafficking—a matter of “beefing” up police and “hardening” the border. At the turn of the century, that limited perception has changed.
The range of criminal activity at the border now extends beyond drugs to include smuggling of arms, people, vehicles, financial instruments, environmentally dangerous substances, endangered species, and archeological objects. Such widespread trafficking involves complex, high-level criminal-political alliances that local lawenforcement alone can’t address. Researchers of the region, as well as officials from both capitals, now see the border as a set of systemic problems that threaten the economic, political, and social health of their countries as a whole.
Organized Crime and Democratic Governability brings together scholars and specialists, including current and former government officials, from both sides of the border to trace the history and define the reality of this situation. Their diverse perspectives place the issue of organized crime in historical, political, economic, and cultural contexts unattainable by single-author studies. Contributors examine broad issues related to the political systems of both countries, as well as the specific actors—crime gangs, government officials, prosecutors, police, and the military—involved in the ongoing drama of the border. Editors Bailey and Godson provide an interpretive frame, a “continuum of governability,” that will guide researchers and policymakers toward defining goals and solutions to the complex problem that, along with a border, the United States and Mexico now share.
According to the Elliot Ness myth, which has been widely disseminated through books, television shows, and movies, Ness and the Untouchables defeated Al Capone by marshaling superior firepower. In Scarface Al and the Crime Crusaders, Dennis Hoffman presents a fresh new perspective on the downfall of Al Capone. To debunk the Eliot Ness myth, he shows how a handful of private citizens brought Capone to justice by outsmarting him rather than by outgunning him.
Drawing on previously untapped sources, Hoffman dissects what he terms a “private war” against Capone. He traces the behind-the-scenes work of a few prominent Chicago businessmen from their successful lobbying of presidents Coolidge and Hoover on behalf of federal intervention to the trial, sentencing, and punishment of Al Capone. Hoffman also reconstructs in detail a number of privately sponsored citizen initiatives directed at stopping Capone. These private ventures included prosecuting the gangsters responsible for election crimes; establishing a crime lab to assist in gangbusting; underwriting the costs of the investigation of the Jake Lingle murder; stigmatizing Capone; and protecting the star witnesses for the prosecution in Al Capone’s income tax evasion case.
Hoffman suggests that as American society continues to be threatened by illegal drugs, gangs, and widespread violence, it is important to remember that the organized crime and political corruption of Prohibition-era Chicago were checked through the efforts of private citizens.
Dennis E. Hoffman is an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
On June 18, 1954, former state senator Albert Patterson, the Democratic Party's nominee for state attorney general, was shot to death as he left his law office in Phenix City, Alabama, infamous for its prostitution, gambling, bootlegging, and political corruption. Patterson had made cleanup of Phenix City his primary campaign promise. With millions of dollars in illegal income and hundreds of political and professional careers at stake, the question surrounding Patterson's murder was not why the trigger was pulled, but who pulled it.
When Good Men Do Nothing is the definitive study of the Albert Patterson murder case. Alan Grady has mined the state's original murder case files; the papers of John Patterson, Albert's son; records from the Office of Alabama Attorney General (who directed the murder investigation); the case files of the Alabama Department of Toxicology and Criminal Investigation; National Guard reports; and more than 30 interviews with eyewitnesses and interested parties.
Grady takes a complex story of multiple dimensions—a large cast of judicial, criminal, and political players; a web of alliances and allegiances; and a knotted sequence of investigative revelations and dead ends—and transforms it into a readable, incisive analysis of the powers and loyalties that governed, and corrupted to the core, the body politic of the state. Readers will be enthralled and educated by this authoritative account of the most compelling crime drama in Alabama during the 20th century.