Organized Crime and Social Institutions

Cite this

Organized crime can be defined in several different ways based on academia and jurisdictions’ perspectives. Despite the similarities in these definitions, there are distinct characters that identify a particular group as an organized crime from the other criminal groups. According to sociologists, organized crime is a vague term that cannot be fully defined (Soliz, 2009). However, the legal community has attempted to define the term from their perspective. According to them, organized crime refers to the unlawful acts of a highly organized group aiming to make money from their illegal actions. Based on the above definitions, organized crimes engage themselves in the illegal supply of goods and services, gambling, prostitution, money laundering, drug smuggling, human trafficking, and other activities associated with illegal groups.

Organized crimes can be compared to social institutions when several individuals commit a crime in an organized manner rather than in an individual context. For instance, organized crimes are known to operate efficiently under the direction of one leader. Notably, organized crimes in our societies are formed to fill the gaps in legitimate businesses. Similarly, organized crimes in some societies are formed to provide services neglected by the governments and the local authorities. In some instances, organized crimes side with legitimate businesses that are after increasing their profits or outdoing their competitors. Through these partnerships, organized crimes can further their criminal activities and increase their returns (Kindt & Post, 2009). In areas with increased unemployment rates and depressed economies, organized crimes provide valuable job opportunities to the unemployed. Sociologists assert that activities such as prostitution, money laundering, and drug peddling act as a source of valuable income to idle individuals in areas where these crimes thrive. Though bizarre, organized crime risks are lesser as compared to the risks associated with conventional criminality. Equally, society tolerates organized crime activities to some extent as compared to conventional criminal activities.

Sociologists assert that to understand the reasons why organized crimes are tolerated in our society, one needs to analyze the socialization functions (Tyler, 2005). In this regard, these groups’ illegal activities offer opportunities for social mobility in societies that justifiable paths have ceased to function or have been hard to achieve. By siding with corrupt law enforcement officers and politicians, organized crimes have been able to enhance the continuity of their illegal acts. Some social experts argue that the involvements of organized criminals with government officials are more than the prevalence of corruption in our society (Ulusoy, 2008). These experts believe that these illegal actions have been enhanced by restrained interactions among the community forces. Through these involvements, organized crimes have been engaged to resolve disagreements existing in the enforcement of relevant laws.

Just as social institution structures, organized crime structures have leaders, supporters, associations, and responsibilities (Kindt & Post, 2009). Social institutions are structured in such a manner that their information is disseminated from the executives to their seniors. In our social institutions, every employee has distinct responsibilities. Similarly, organized crime leadership structures are organized such that there are leaders who oversee the operation of the group with the help of their subordinates.

When analyzing organized crime and criminal behaviors, some of the most preferred experimental and speculative theories are alien conspiracy theories (Kindt & Post, 2009). According to these theories, individuals who are considered outcasts in a community have higher chances to form an organized crime group as compared to the majority. With the help of these theories, the formation of organized crime groups such as the Mafia in Italy and the Bloods and Crips in the US can be explained (Kindt & Post, 2009). In the past, members from the minority group ganged up and formed these organized crime groups. According to this theory, members who consider themselves as minorities in society form organized crime groups to gain power and control. To achieve this, the groups are forced to engage in criminal activities such as prostitution, kidnapping, drug peddling, and human trafficking to make money and increase their power in the community. Through their leaders, these groups perpetuate several illegal activities in their communities. Once these groups spread and become well organized in their societies, governments normally find it challenging to dismantle the groups.

In conclusion, organized crime plays a crucial role in our society’s production, supply, and consumption of goods and services just like our social institutions. Equally, organized crimes have complimented on the services provided by our government and local authorities agencies. Through this, the groups have played crucial roles in social functions. As such, they have provided valuable income to several individuals who could have sorted their income through contemporary criminal activities. In their bid to understand the functioning of organized crimes, criminal investigators have developed several theorists. Of all these theories, alien conspiracy theory is the most preferred empirical and speculative theory. By this theory, a systematic view of the operation and the formation of organized crime groups can be explained.


Kindt, M. T., & Post, J. M. (2009). The world’s most threatening terrorist networks and criminal gangs. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Soliz, A. (2009). Gangs. Detroit, MI: Greenhaven Press.

Tyler, G. (2005). Organized crime in America, a book of readings.. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Ulusoy, M. D. (2008). Political violence, organized crimes, terrorism, and youth. Amsterdam: IOS Press.

Cite this paper

Select style


Premium Papers. (2022, December 27). Organized Crime and Social Institutions. Retrieved from


Premium Papers. (2022, December 27). Organized Crime and Social Institutions.

Work Cited

"Organized Crime and Social Institutions." Premium Papers, 27 Dec. 2022,


Premium Papers. (2022) 'Organized Crime and Social Institutions'. 27 December.


Premium Papers. 2022. "Organized Crime and Social Institutions." December 27, 2022.

1. Premium Papers. "Organized Crime and Social Institutions." December 27, 2022.


Premium Papers. "Organized Crime and Social Institutions." December 27, 2022.