Organized Crime Essay Research Paper OrganizedCrime

Organized Crime Essay, Research Paper Organized Crime History of Organized Crime For my report I choose the topic organized crime. I thing organized crime is

Organized Crime Essay, Research Paper



History of Organized Crime

For my report I choose the topic organized crime. I thing organized crime is

a big part of this worlds life and economy. The world can not live with it and

cannot live with out it. For my report I am going to write about the history of the

mafia, and name some of the major crime families.

Throughout history, crime has existed in many different forms and has

been committed by not only individuals, but by groups as well. Crime is something

that knows no boundries; it exists in all cultures, is committed by all races, and has

existed in all time periods. Crime exists as a part of the economic institution and is

a lifestyle for many people. Crime also exists in both organized and un organized

forms. Since the early 1900’s, “organized” crime has existed in the United States.

The following will show where, when, and why the mafia came to the United

States, who organized it in the United States, and how it differed from its origins in

the European mafia.

In the ninth century, Sicily was occupied by Arab forces. The native

Sicilians were oppressed and took refuge in the surrounding hills. The Sicilians

formed a secret society to unite the natives against the Arab and Norman invaders.

This secret society was called Mafia after the Arabic word for refuge. The society’s

intentions were to create a sense of family based on ancestry and Sicilian heritage.

In the 1700’s, pictures of a black hand were distributed to the wealthy. This was an

unspoken request for an amount of money in return for protection. If the money

wasn’t paid, the recipients could expect violence such as kidnappings, bombings,

and murder. By the nineteenth century, this society grew larger and more

criminally oriented. In 1876, Mafia Don Rafael Palizzolo, ran for political office in

Sicily. He forced the voters to vote for him under gunpoint. After being elected

into office, he promoted Mafia Don Crispi as Prime Minister. Together the two put

Sicily under government control and funnelled government funds to the society

known as the Mafia.

In the 1800’s, New Orleans was the largest Mafia site in the United States. It

was while investigating the murder of an Italian immigrant that the current Police

Chief, David Hennessey discovered the existence of this secret society. Police

Chief Hennessey was assassinated before this murder case could go to trial.

Twelve men were charged with this assassination but were lynched by a newly

formed vigilante group. The Italian Ambassador demanded that the vigilantes be

tried. President Harrison who disproved of the vigilantes and gave a large cash

settlement to the families of the lynched men. This was a widely publicized case

because of its’ foreign ramifications and the involvement of the President of the

United States. Don Vito, Vito Cascio Ferro, was the first Sicilian Capo de Tutti

Capi. He fled to the United States in 1901 to escape arrest and formed a group of

the Black Hand. Its’ members were hardened criminals currently fugitives from

Sicily. He is known as the Father of the American Mafia. In 1924, Mussolini was

determined to rid Italy of the Mafia so many members fled to the United States to

avoid persecution . This increased the numbers of members in the organization.

These fleeing Italians were well aware there was money to be made in the

United States through extortion, prostitution, gambling and bootlegging. Every

large city soon had its own Mafia chapter. Prohibition which was a legal ban on

the manufacturer and sale of intoxicating drinks generated a wave of illegal

activity since there was big money to be made. During this time, gangsters openly

flaunted their wealth and power. This period established many young men as

leaders in the New Age American Mafia.

Charles Luciano, born in 1897 in Sicily, came to New York in 1906. He

trained in the Five Points Gang, a Mafia crew, under John Torrio. In this gang, he

became friends with Al Capone and other prominent gangsters. Luciano started his

own prostitution racket in the early 1920’s and was in total control of prostitution

in Manhattan by 1925. In 1929 he was kidnapped, beaten and stabbed severally

with an icepick. He miraculously survived but maintained “omerta”, which is a

vow never to reveal any Mafia secrets or members under penalty of death or

torture. By 1935, Luciano was known as The Boss of Bosses. He had previously

established Murder Inc. with Bugsy Siegel and Myer Lansky, two other well

known gangsters. Luciano’s wide spread criminal activities led to his being

investigated by District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey. He was eventually sentenced

to thirty to fifty years for extortion and prostitution. Luciano was considered to be

a powerful Mafia member with strong ties to Sicily. After his conviction, the

United States government approached him with a deal. In exchange for his

assistance in the Allied invasion of Sicily, he was offered deportation to Rome.

Luciano contacted his Mafia associates in Italy and the deal was made. Luciano

died of a heart attack in 1962 while meeting an American movie producer to do his

life story.

Myer Lansky was never an initiated member of the Mafia since he was not

Italian. Lansky became a close associate of Luciano after his rise to power and

influence among the Jewish gangsters, known as Myer’s mob. His speciality was

gambling. He formed Murder Inc. which was a group of specialized contract killers

which was hired out to other mobs. Lansky was instrumental in working out the

deal with the government for Luciano in the Allied invasion. While Luciano was in

jail and later deported to Italy, he entrusted the running of the crime syndicate to

Lansky. By the 1960’s, Lansky’s gambling operations extended half way around the

globe with departments all over South America and as far as Hong Kong. In 1970,

the federal government was planning to charge Lansky with tax evasion , so he fled

to Israel. In Tel Aviv, the Israeli government under pressure by the U.S. revoked

his visa and Lansky was forced to stand trial. He avoided conviction because of his

high level government contacts and retired to Miami, Florida and died in 1983. At

the time of his death, his estate was valued at 4 million dollars.

The third member of Murder Inc. was Benjamin (Bugsy) Siegel. He was

born in Brooklyn, NY in 1906. While still a teenager, he met Myer Lansky and

went on to form the Bug and Myer Mob which specialized in gambling and car

theft. In the 1930’s, this mob joined with Luciano and formed Murder Inc. Siegel

eventually killed Joe. “The Boss”, Masseria which ended the present mob wars at

that time. Siegel continued to carry out murders for Luciano and by 1937 there was

a large number of contracts out of Siegel’s life since he had angered so many of the

bosses. To protect him, Lansky and Luciano persuaded him to move out to

California. In California, Siegel he was the main man in the Luciano and Lansky

gang and extorted money from movie studio owners. He continued to do murders

for Luciano. Siegel ” borrowed” five million dollars of syndicate money to build

the first super casino/hotel in Las Vegas. The Flamingo hotel turned out to be a

fiasco and lost money. Luciano demanded repayment of the funds and Siegel

refused, thinking he was as powerful as Luciano. Luciano ordered his death.

Although Siegel was warned by Lansky of this plan, he continued to refuse to

repay the money. On June 20, 1947 he was killed.

Dutch Schultz, was another major player in organized crime He opened a

saloon in the Bronx, New York during prohibition and organized a group of thugs

to expand his bootlegging operations. His empire soon grew to large proportions

with many illegal establishments in the Bronx and Manhattan. During his trial for

tax evasion, many of his rackets were taken over by Luciano, who expected

Schultz to be convicted. Although this prompted him to move his operation to New

Jersey, Schultz was still considered so influential Luciano asked him to be a

member of the Board of Directors of the crime syndicate. The District Attorney of

New York, Thomas E. Dewey was not finished with Schultz though and continued

investigating his activities. Schultz decided it was in his best interest to eliminate

Dewey but the crime syndicate disagreed. They feared the killing of a District

Attorney would only add to their problems but Schultz would not drop his plan. On

the evening of October 23, 1935, while Schultz was informing his New Jersey

associates of his plan, a Murder Inc. hit man assassinated all of them, Schultz

included. He died later that evening in a Newark City hospital.

Alphonse “Scarface” Capone was another organizer of the early American

Mafia. He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1899. His involvement with

organized crime began when he was eleven years old. As he got older, he

graduated to the more powerful “Five Pointers Gang” where he became acquainted

with Luciano. When Johnny Torrio, the original leader of the “Five Pointers Gang”

moved to Chicago, he invited Capone to be his sidekick. Torrio’s uncle, “Big Jim”

Colisimo was the crime boss in Chicago. Trouble between uncle and nephew

started and Capone was hired to kill the uncle leaving Torrio in charge of all

Chicago. In 1925 when Torrio was severally wounded in a shoot out, he gave

Capone his vast business empire, valued at fifty million dollars a year. During this

time, Capone fell out of favor with other Mafia gangsters and several attempts

were made on his life. Capone took revenge by staging the infamous St.

Valentine’s Day massacre in which he killed several of his enemies ending

resistance to his continuing business dealings. He was finally sentenced for tax

evasion and spent most of his eleven year sentence in Alcatraz. In 1939 he was

released from prison because he was in the advanced stages of syphilis. He died of

this disease in 1947.

At the turn of the century the American Mafia was different from the

Sicilian Mafia in a number of ways. The European Mafia was founded on a sense

of loyalty and respect for culture, family and the Sicilian heritage. The Mafia was

to protect its’ members interests and grant them freedom in business in exchange

for absolute loyalty and submission to the “family”. The Sicilian Mafia was based

on the belief that justice, honor and vengeance are for a man to take care of, not for

a government to take care of. The Sicilian mafia valued the code of “omerta” , the

code of honor and silence and strictly adhered to the ruling that this was a secret

society, open only to those who shared Sicilian blood. In contrast to the noble

Sicilian mafia, the American mafia has proved to be a conniving, cold hearted

organization. The American Mafia consists of a large group of glorified thieves,

pickpockets and murderers. Although it began with the adoption of much of the

Sicilian heritage it has evolved into an organization that’s sole purpose is to make

money using any illegal means possible. The members of the American mafia use

extortion, bootlegging, prostitution, gambling, kidnapping, and murder to achieve

their ends.

The Mafia has continued to grow and infest our society from the early

1900’s. It continues to exploit and destroy the honest citizens of our country. Now,

these criminal organizations not only control the adults of our communities but

have begun , through the sale and distribution of narcotics, to control our children.

Crime organizations must be stopped however this is a difficult task. They have

infiltrated members of our government and law enforcement agencies with the lure

of money. Unfortunately crime does pay in many instances. It is up to each of us to

not look the other way, but be aware that their are really no victimless crimes. One

way or another, we all pay either by higher taxes or by a more violent society.