One ‘Best’ Theory for Organized Crime

black Image of scales on white background with the words, "calibrate the scales" overlaid. As with any set of scales, the scales of justice must, from time to time, be recalibrated. Total balance is never achieved, but all in the criminal justice and legal systems must strive for it as much as possible.

Is there one ‘Best’ Theory for organized crime? Theories abound from the Alien Conspiracy to the Bureaucratic Model to the Patron-Client theory with plenty in between. In this collaborative essay, the team argues that the Alien Conspiracy Theory provides the best way to identify the causes and corrections for organized crime.

By C J Oakes, L. Gunsallus, H. James, & R. Hodge.

Some believe that Organized Crime is good for society; in the sense that this kind of criminal activity can help law enforcement improve it is perhaps correct. However, most believe that Organized Crime is harmful; hence theories to explain this phenomenon abound. Therefore, it is prudent to consider these: The Alien Conspiracy Theory will be discussed here, for this seems to best fit the evidence.

Alien Conspiracies and Organized Crime

Organized crime according to Jankiewicz (1995) is defined as “any group of persons in a continuing operation of criminal activity, including street gangs.” With this in mind this team believes that the ‘best’ theory for organized crime is the Alien Conspiracy Theory. For example, this theory is based on organized groups, such as the Sicilian Mafia who transported their criminal culture when they migrated to the United States (Mallory, 2007). This theory holds that organized crime is a direct spinoff of a secret society, the Mafia, an organization centrally coordinated through a national commission (National Criminal Justice Reference Service, 1998).

The Alien Conspiracy Theory begins with organized crime for which the Italians became known. 

Gangsters: Organized Crime
Gangsters: Organized Crime (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Mafia does have much to do with this theory, but organized crime groups comprise more than just those from Italian and Sicilian decent.  Organized crime group ethnicities/natonalities also include Asian, Latino, Russian, Nigerian, and many others. 

The Alien Conspiracy Theory also suggests that people from other countries come to the United States so that crime families have players on the inside; these often commit crimes that usually have to do with financial gain.  This is because money equals power. These families thus strive to become powerful and take over cities and neighborhoods. 

The Alien Theory Describes a Social Incubator 

For many foreign persons coming to the United States, Americans are not always inviting.  Therefore, these immigrants tend to communicate, socialize, and bond with others of similar backgrounds. Thus, social constraints often lead to an incubator of sorts wherein criminal activity thrives.

New immigrant groups want to form businesses and become successful.  In America, it is very difficult to become a success unless one has something others want. American encourages business and many new immigrants start businesses; these evolve and adapt to demand.  During this time, the new immigrants may use shortcuts and break laws to make their business rise.  In addition, the business is passed down from generation to generation, constantly evolving. The families become well-known and more powerful as the years go by, eventually taking over a geographical area. 

Disbelievers in this theory insist that organized crime consists of numerous ethnically diverse groups. Supporters of the theory conceive two organized crime contingencies:

  1. traditional organized crime and
  2. nontraditional organized crime.

The nontraditional, organized crime organizations are distinguished from traditional organized crime organizations in part by their recent vintage (National Criminal Justice Reference Service, 1998). This team believes several theories could define and explain at least part of organized crime, but to truly understand it, one must first learn where these groups come from and how they work.

English: 18th Street gang graffiti.
English: 18th Street gang graffiti. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the Alien Conspiracy Theory we can see how these groups started and how they have flourished. This team believes this makes sense because immigrants are what make up our country and many do not believe they are welcome on arrival; they were looking for something better, soon realized they had to do whatever necessary to succeed here, and adapted by adopting criminal ways. Many organized crimes groups see no wrong in what they are doing; they do what they must to survive. These groups often conspire together to gain respect and acceptance. This is often accomplished through intimidation and brutality. Many of these groups use legitimate businesses and contacts to cover their illegal activities.

Organized Crime–Good for Society: Agree or Disagree?

Organized Crime and corruption goes against morals, laws, and the ways in which the United States functions. Organized crime creates an uneven chance at success, disrupting the natural economy. It also interferes with the functioning of legitimate corporations.

Some believe that organized crime facilitates distribution of legitimate but illegal goods and services that otherwise would not be available to the public. These further believe it is useful in providing leadership in areas wherein that such is lacking. Further, the claim is that it helps society by providing income to those otherwise unable to secure employment; that through traditional mentorship it provides a future to the underprivileged (Global Politician, Vaknin, 2009). The FBI and other Criminal Justice Departments do what they can to disrupt and disband these organizations, but reality suggests that this will always be a battle to fight.

Members Views on the Alien Conspiracy Theory of Organized Crime

I do not think organized crime is good for society because having the working man, earn their living- the-fair-way is really a slap in the face to the hard working people. Organized crime [members] becomes the rich by doing nothing except illegally obtaining money and bribing some of the people that the working man trusts, such as the police and politicians. We also have to look at human trafficking. Young people are sometimes kidnapped and brought from other countries to do things they never knew they would have to, like prostitution, etc. Some were promised a great life and when they get here the circumstances are not what they thought it would be.” – L. Gunsallus.

I disagree with Organized Crime because it disguises itself as legitimate business.  In a way it is a complete lie and is not in any way fair to those who really do have legitimate businesses.  To explain further, these enterprises strive on illegal activity including money laundering and so-called editing funds.  This hurts everyone because it causes inconsistencies in the economy. The companies lie about how much they have and lie on their taxes, etc. and in turn, many honest citizens are left picking up the slack.  Also, those who do business with organized crime can find themselves in a very bad place unintentionally and end up in a mess too fast to back out.” – H. James. 

English: Mafia crime family structure tree
English: Mafia crime family structure tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia). The Alien Conspiracy Theory considers a similar struture, though with different terms depending on the language and origin of the group.

I generally like to play devil’s advocate on subjects like this, however, I cannot think of any good that can come from Organized Crime. If I were an anarchist or a true capitalist, then perhaps I could, but as a person who believes in government (albeit, limited) and either socialism (as a monetary economic system) or a resource-based economy, I simply cannot abide organized crime.” – C. J. Oakes.

I also have to agree to disagree about organized crime being a good thing in society. I do not see the good that can come from organized crime. I have however heard others say that some organized crime brings money to certain communities and supports them; that there would be less jobs and more unemployment if there was not organized crime. In some cases maybe this type of thing does bring money to certain communities. My thought on that is if it does, at what cost does it do that.” – R. Hodge.


We assume that most people not involved in organized crime agree that organized crime is harmful to society. The next logical consideration then is to agree on a definition so that the criminals may be found and prosecuted. However, just the opposite is occurring in the world. Few in criminal justice and law seem able to agree on a common definition for organized crime. Most agree that organized crime exists, but none claim to have seen it. In this respect, organized crime is like the otherworld aliens that many claim to have seen. Many believe these exist; but conclusive proof is tenable at best.


  • Global Politician (2004-2014). The Pros and Cons of Corruption. (Valnin, S. Ph.D., 2009). Retrieved June 23, 2012 from
  • Jankiewicz, S. (1995). Comment: Glasnost and the Growth of Global Organized Crime. Huston Journal of International Law 18 (fall)
  • Mallory, S. L. (2007). Understanding Organized Crime. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett
  • National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS). (1998). Organized Crime and the Drug Trade. (By Lyman, M. D. and Potter, G. W., see NCJ-177133). Retrieved June 23, 2012 from
  • Oakes, C. J. (2011). Why We Do What We Do. Retrieved June 22, 2012 from (currently unpublished but encompassed in the series Human Behavior.)

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3 thoughts on “One ‘Best’ Theory for Organized Crime”

  1. No doubt that I was born organized, but I also think there were erovninmental influences from my parents and grandmothers. They modeled organizational skills in many different ways and styles. And without really thinking much about it while growing up, I know what I observed absolutely influenced some of my own penchant for organization. I always loved organizing things, spaces, schedules and projects, but never really thought much about my abilities. Others noticed my skills and often commented about them, sometimes in a teasing way. As in, who color codes their leotards, lines up their nail polish collection in color order or sorts their Halloween candy spoils by type into small bags? So when I was thinking about starting my own business and wanted to tap into skills that I had, I began seeing my organizational skills in a new light. And while I realized that I had those skills, I also knew that they were teachable skills. In 1993 I launched Oh, So Organized! and with the goal of helping and teaching skills to those that were organizationally challenged.

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