Crime, Arrests and US Law Enforcement

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61. Crime - Organized Crime - 5-19-12

"Starting in the 1970s, but accelerating in the early 1990s, a new form of organized crime took hold. The combination of a new geopolitical climate, a globalized world economy and resulting softer borders, and a revolution in information technology available to crime groups hastened a shift. Crime groups changed from domestic organized crime groups that were regional in scope and hierarchically structured to criminal organizations that are global and transnational in nature, increasingly networked with other criminal groups, and often flatter in structure."

Picarelli, John T., "Responding to Transnational Organized Crime: Supporting Research, Improving Practice," NIJ Journal (Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, October 2011) No. 268, p. 6.

62. Transnational Organized Crime

"Transnational organized crime refers to those self-perpetuating associations of individuals who operate transnationally for the purpose of obtaining power, influence, monetary and/or commercial gains, wholly or in part by illegal means, while protecting their activities through a pattern of corruption and/or violence, or while protecting their illegal activities through a transnational organizational structure and the exploitation of transnational commerce or communication mechanisms. There is no single structure under which transnational organized criminals operate; they vary from hierarchies to clans, networks, and cells, and may evolve to other structures. The crimes they commit also vary. Transnational organized criminals act conspiratorially in their criminal activities and possess certain characteristics which may include, but are not limited to:
"• In at least part of their activities they commit violence or other acts which are likely to intimidate, or make actual or implicit threats to do so;
"• They exploit differences between countries to further their objectives, enriching their organization, expanding its power, and/or avoiding detection/apprehension;
"• They attempt to gain influence in government, politics, and commerce through corrupt as well as legitimate means;
"• They have economic gain as their primary goal, not only from patently illegal activities but also from investment in legitimate businesses; and
"• They attempt to insulate both their leadership and membership from detection, sanction, and/or prosecution through their organizational structure."

"Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime: Addressing Converging Threats to National Security," Executive Office of the President, Washington, DC, April 2011.

63. Transnational Organized Crime

"The problem is that most efforts against drugs are national, or, at best, bilateral, when the scale of the trafficking is global. Without a strategy scaled to fit the size of the problem, successful national efforts run the risk of simply displacing contraband flows. When opposed, the drug markets in cocaine and heroin have consistently adapted, finding new cultivation areas, new transit zones, and new consumer markets. In many cases, they have settled in the areas of least resistance, which are precisely the areas least equipped to deal with the challenge. And it is here that organized crime can escalate to the level of being a threat to stability."

"The Globalization of Crime: A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment," United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (Vienna, Austria: 2010), p. 272.

64. Estimated Proceeds of Transnational Organized Crime

"The overall best estimates of criminal proceeds are close to US$2.1 trillion in 2009 or 3.6% of global GDP [Gross Domestic Product] (95% confidence interval: 2.7%-4.4%). If only typical transnational organized crime proceeds were considered (resulting from trafficking drugs, counterfeiting, human trafficking, trafficking in oil, wildlife, timber, fish, art and cultural property, gold, human organs and small and light weapons), the estimates would be around 1.5% of GDP. About half of these proceeds were linked to trafficking in drugs."

"Estimating Illicit Financial Flows Resulting from Drug Trafficking and Other Transnational Organized Crimes," United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (Vienna, Austria: 2011), p. 9.