Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Mafia and Organized Crime
Organized crime is both a group of people with some kind of formalized structure, engaging in sustained illegal activity primarily for profit, and the crimes they commit. The Mafia itself is a particular Italian organized crime culture that originated in Sicily and then spread into North America. However, the word Mafia has become both a popular expression for any organized crime gang and a term of art for a specific form of organized criminality adopting a quasi-state role. Organized crime is more than just crime that is organized. After all, almost any crimes committed by more than one person and with premeditation will involve a degree of coordination. Nor are any particular offenses to be considered organized crimes as such—organized crime groups carry out the same illegal acts as any person, but what is significant is that they do so in a sustained way, typically operating with a degree of ...