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Running head: Evolution of an Organized Crime Group Rebecca Rodriguez University of Phoenix Criminal Organization/CJA 393 June 1, 2009 Abstract The focus of this paper is to give in-depth evolutionary analysis of La Cosa Nostra. In addition, this paper will focus on the rationale of La Cosa Nostra’s organization, growth, and current impact on society. Evolution of Organized Crime Throughout history, crime has been a way of life. Organized criminal behavior thrives on servicing and providing goods that are prohibited by law, but are in high demand.

Organized crime increased because law enforcement lacked the resources necessary to carry on investigations and seeking prosecution against organized crime figures. However, organized crime succeeded in the United States way before the country was obsessed with the threat of the Mafia. The Mafia was as one point in time a secret society, however, today its customs have been distorted. Their family traditions they once held so dearly have been lost along with their code of honor, the Omerta.

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Ever since the Mafia started, these organized crime groups they have changed their viewpoint from protecting ones reputation and family, to one of obtaining money, control,and family. The only reason this type of danger came to light was because in the nineteenth century Americans became suspicious of all the immigrants that came into the country and they believed that instead of embracing the country these immigrants would only wanted to exploit it with criminal activities.

Since law enforcement was focusing on criminal activities instead of these criminal organizations, La Cosa Nostra flourished and was in full force by the end of the 1960’s. In addition, in that same year Italian bosses were employing local African American and Hispanic crooks to help manage its illegal kingdom. Theses organized crime groups have been able to maintain their positions by using violence, the threat of violence, corruption of politicians, and extortion. Organized crime groups have expanded their services to smuggling drugs, financial market manipulation and taking control of other organized crime roups within their network. All organized crime groups were required to pay a fee in order to do business in their neighborhood. Organization Growth It is estimated that La Cosa Nostra had approximately 1,100 members nationwide operating in New York. La Cosa Nostra at this one point in time has approximately 25 families, with one main boss in each major city. La Cosa Nostra had 2000 made members that belonged to those families (FAS Intelligent Resource Program). New York was and continues to be the center of La Cosa Nostra’s organized crime group.

Currently there are five main families that La Cosa Nostra manages in New York: the Bonnano, the Gambino, the Genevese, the Lucchese, and the Colombo (James O. Finckenauer, 2007). All the different families are known for their different criminal activities or specialties. For the most part most of these families like to keep a low profile while others just like to be known around town, for instance, the Gambino family. Even though La Costa Nostra and the main five families have been losing some ground, it is unrealistic to believe that they have completely lost its strength. Conclusion References

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