The fight against organized crime in Canada continues to be a popular topic of discussion amongst academics, law enforcement agencies, politicians, and the Canadian populace as a whole. Of particular concern is what constitutes the best practices to effectively combat against the crime perpetrated by criminal organizations residing in Canada and abroad. As a result, in November of 2009, experts in the field of organized crime gathered at a summit entitled, The Best Practices to Combat Organized Crime Research Workshop in Ottawa, Ontario to discuss innovative ideas and effective strategies to aid in the effort to eradicate the presence of organized crime in Canada.
Organized crime takes many forms, from low-level street violence committed on city streets to white collar crime and fraud perpetrated in corporate settings. It is not surprising then, that one of the key problems pertaining to organized criminal activity in Canada is the convoluted legal definition of organized crime. Indeed, there remains little to no consensus as to what organized crime and criminal organizations should be defined as, how the presence of said crime should be measured, and what types of policies and strategies should be implemented to remove this problem from the Canadian criminal justice landscape.
The purpose of the Best Practices to Combat Organized Crime Research Workshop was to discuss new and innovative ideas and research methods that could help to alleviate this, and other problems relating to the various forms of organized crime occurring in Canada. Indeed, leaving the problem of organized crime unaddressed would only serve to exacerbate the level of organized criminal activity occurring in Canada and allow violent and harmful criminal acts to continue unabated. As a result, some of the most influential minds and experts in the field of criminology and criminal justice were called upon at the research workshop to share information, foster collaboration, and push the Canadian research agenda towards solutions to the organized crime problem. The key findings from the research workshop are discussed below.
Several key themes emerged from the research workshop:
There needs to be greater cooperation between various agencies and jurisdictions in Canada and abroad as organized crime permeates throughout the nation and around the world.
The legal definition of organized crime must be addressed as its ambiguous nature leads to difficulty in policy formation and strategy development.
There is a greater need for preventative rather than reactive methods for dealing with organized crime.
Data measuring the degree of organized crime in Canada is hard to come by as there are several stumbling blocks to the effective data exchange of organized crime information.
More emphasis needs to be placed on the degree of social harm resulting from organized crime.
Many of the key note speakers brought forth innovative ideas on how to...