"Organized crime (as opposed to ordinary gangs, terrorist groups or guerrilla organizations): (1) lacks ideology; (2) has an organized hierarchy; (3) has continuity over time; (4) has willingness to threaten or use force; (5) has restrictive membership; (6) gains profits through criminal activity; (7) provides illegal goods/services desired by segments of the general population; (8) neutralizes some public officials and politicians by corruption or intimidation; (9) seeks monopolies of specific goods or services; (10) assigns specialized activities to gang members; (11) has a code of secrecy; (12) carefully plans for long-term goals; The most important factor in the growth of organized crime has been the development of a global network for illegal drug trafficking that produces multi-billion dollar profits. Other developments also have an impact. The collapse of the Soviet Empire and the growth of capitalism in China removed barriers to both legitimate business and criminal activity. The worldwide financial system now involves so many transactions that they cannot be monitored adequately. The establishment of a North American free trade area and the lowering of European customs and passport controls provides unintended opportunities for criminals. And, the weakening of state authority in former Communist countries and in so-called failing states has weakened their police agencies and judicial systems."
Strategic Forum (May 1996), no.74
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