The purpose of this paper is to consider organized crime as various forms of business activity which may or may not have attracted the label of criminality. In particular, how perceptions of legitimacy and the effects of other normative factors will influence strongly whether activities, individuals and groupings may be viewed as constituent parts of organized crime.
This paper first discusses some of the ambiguities surrounding the definition and practice of organized crime. It then emphasizes the inherent business focus of much organized crime activity and the crucial importance of legitimacy contexts in decision making seeking to counter organized crime.
The overall effects of organized crime are generally negative for society and organized crime activity can be brutal and harmful. The paper closes by acknowledging the rationality of at least some organized crime activity.
The paper considers the law enforcement potential in developing counter‐strategies that consider organized crime as part of the continuum of business.
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