Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Organized Crime—United States
Since the 1920s, organized crime has fascinated, horrified, and been a continuous concern for citizens and law enforcement officials in the United States. The public perception of organized crime has been shaped by the large volume of movies, television shows, and books that have distorted the public image of organized crime and misled the response to it. Because of these portrayals in the popular media, organized crime has developed in unique ways in the United States and has also shaped perceptions of organized crime and the response to it in other nations. The meaning of the term organized crime is in dispute among those who write about the subject. To avoid conflict about definitions, the term is used here to refer to a criminal group with the following eight characteristics identified by Howard Abadinsky (1997: 4): 1. Nonideological. The primary motivating force for organized crime is profit. 2. Hierarchical. 3. ...