Transnational Criminal Organization And The Law Enforcement Community

940 words - 4 pages

The problem of transnational criminal organization poses some unique challenges to the law enforcement community. The scope of these organizations’ activities and personnel creates exponentially more work for law enforcement than relatively isolated or contained criminal acts by individuals or small groups. Random and personal crimes committed by individuals can usually be handled by police at the local level, as the investigation is limited to the known crime (or crimes) that have been committed and reported. In these cases, identifying and apprehending the perpetrator is possible through investigation of the evidence of the specific instance of crime. This is not the case with large criminal organizations. The scale of criminal activity committed by transnational criminal enterprises dwarfs those committed by lone “local” offenders. Organized criminal enterprises have a pattern of wide-scale criminal activity on a daily basis that involves the participation of many individuals. Transnational criminal organization are somewhat like the mythological nine-header Hydra – when one of its heads was cut off, it would quickly grow back. So, in order to any impact on the organizations as a whole, law enforcement must target their leadership and coordinate their arrests. To achieve this end, law enforcement must work meticulously to identify the entire scope of the criminal enterprise’s operations and map of it organization – identifying key personnel and associates. Not only that, but in the course of this intelligence gathering, law enforcement must also gather credible evidence that will help bring about a conviction in court. A main analytical technique that can be used against transnational criminal organization is network analysis.

Unlike other types of crimes such as homicide and sex offenses that often are committed by single or a few offenders, organized crimes are carried out by multiple, collaborating offenders. These offenders may form groups and teams and play different roles (Xu and Chen). These groups and teams may have vastly different functions, such as production, transportation, distribution and marketing of illegal goods and services, as well as the eventual laundering of the ill-gotten proceeds from the illegal activity (Jiminez). Network analysis helps analysts determine the activities being conducted by the criminal enterprise and who all is involved and in what capacity. In the end, criminal network analysis integrates information from multiple crime incidents and even multiple sources to discover regular patterns about the structure, organization, operation, and information flow in criminal networks (Xu and Chen). This general intelligence on the groups will aid investigative efforts and facilitate collection of evidence for use in court.

Several software programs (like i2’s Analyst’s Notebook) have been developed to automate and streamline criminal network analysis. Although these programs automate much of...

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