Mobs. The Mafia. Gangs. Organized crime has been a part of America’s history for a long time. The height of their glory days in the US occurred during one specific time period: the 1920s. They are featured in novels of the time, reminiscences, and have held a strange pull over the American people since. People are fascinated with the inner workings of the organizations and the lives of those on the inside. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby’s affiliation with organized crime prevents him from attaining his ultimate dream of living in East Egg and taints him in the eyes of Daisy Buchanan, forever preventing them from having a relationship.
The title “organized crime” is such for a reason as it is highly organized and efficient. The United States FBI’s website section on organized crime explains the legal definition of organized crime: “The FBI defines organized crime as any group having some manner of a formalized structure and whose primary objective is to obtain money through illegal activities” (“Organized Crime”). It goes on to say that these organizations are usually in more than one illegal business. They are spread out and have “extensive supporting networks” meaning that they are linked to numerous other crime groups, cities, political offices, or civil services (such as the police or the courts). Organized crime is incredibly complex and far-reaching in society.
In the FBI’s definition of organized crime a structure was mentioned. Here, it is referring to a hierarchy within the group. On the top is the mob boss. This is the man (or woman) who calls the shots and decides the direction his or her organization will take. They are in charge of all the big, executive decisions. The front man is one step down and does not have to be in the organization for it to function. This person is the figurehead, he or she may make some decisions, but they serve as a ‘front’ for the actual boss. For example, the Italian Mafia families of Chicago used involved front men who served while the head of the family was in jail or sick in the hospital (“Organized Crime”). They could be a right-hand man or a cover so that the boss could live relatively free of suspicion.
From this, the hierarchy branches out more and more, growing. Every time, each person’s job description narrows to a finer point until each is directing little to nothing, perhaps they are the worker bee themselves (“Organized Crime”). These underlings do the dirty work. They are the ones who are approached with new business propositions. These ideas flow back up the branches until they reach the boss whose directions are sent back down. The lower workers recruit and make connections, integrating the network into everything they can. They are also the ones often ‘disposing of’ people who get in the way or talk to the law.
When one is constantly on the wrong side of the law, one must find ways to skirt being caught. There are several tricks other than leaving no evidence...