Organized Crime in the 20th Century

Topics: Prohibition in the United States, Crime, John Dillinger Pages: 6 (2054 words) Published: May 6, 2014
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of high enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for their own profit. Seemingly, the highest rate of criminal violence was partaken in the 1920’s. With the prohibition laws in America and the world in an economic depression. People turned more and more too criminal activity, organized criminals such as the American mobsters and other crime organizations grew vigorously. Most common people would look at these organization leaders as heroes. Criminals like Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, and John Dillinger were most prominently looked at by the people in this era. Criminal organizations kept their illegal operations secret, and member’s conferred by word of mouth. Any gangs that became sufficiently systematic were called organized. The act of engaging in criminal activity as a structured group is referred to in the United States as racketeering. Labor racketeering is the domination, manipulation, and control of a labor movement in order to affect related businesses and industries. It can lead to the denial of workers’ rights and inflicts an economic loss on the workers, business, industry, insurer, or consumer. For example of protection racketeering, the racketeer informs the store-owner that a substantial monthly fee will be required in exchange for protection. The concurrent protection provided takes the form of the absence of damage inflicted upon the store or its employees by the racket itself. Other types of rackets include bribery and illegal gambling. (www.u-s-history.com 2/22/13) Jobs were very hard to find and people needed to provide for their families, gangsterism was dangerous but provided an easy way to make money. When the American government passed the Eighteenth amendments outlawing alcohol, people who enjoyed a drink became a criminal for doing so. Although prohibitions goal was to increase sense of integrity in the United States, it encouraged normally law abiding citizens to break the law, implemented the growth and influence of organized crime, and increased levels of corruption in government and law-enforcement. Prohibition in the United States was designed to reduce drinking by eliminating the businesses that manufactured, distributed, and sold alcoholic beverages. Prohibition was supposed to lower crime and corruption, reduce social problems, lower taxes needed to support prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America. Instead, Alcohol became more dangerous to consume, this lead to the rising of organized crimes. Courts and prisons systems became overloaded, which lead to the occurrence of police and public officials (www.library.thinkquest.org 2/22/13) The Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution banned the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol. The amendment was proposed by Congress on December 18, 1917, when it passed the Senate after it had passed the house the day earlier. It was confirmed on January 16, 1919, and went into effect one year later on January 16, 1920. The amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933. It was the only Amendment in the United States Constitution that’s ever been repealed. (www.history1900s.about.com 2/22/13) Alcohol was seen as the devil advocate and banning the substance would help improve the quality of American lives. It caused an explosive growth in crime with more than double the amount of illegal bars and saloons operating than before prohibition. The government set up the Federal Prohibition Bureau to police the prohibition. This did not avert people from breaking the law, organized crime continued to be the main supplier of alcohol. With such a large coastline it was almost impossible to police with only ever confiscating five percent of the alcohol distributed. Bribing government officials became a common thing...
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