Book Review: Challenging Organized Crime in the Western Hemisphere
Print Issue: November 2020
Challenging Organized Crime in the Western Hemisphere; By Philip B. Heymann and Stephen P. Heymann. Routledge; 132 pages; $62.95
An informative overview of organized crime and the efforts of law enforcement agencies to eradicate it, Challenging Organized Crime in the Western Hemisphere is superbly researched and documents the evolution of organized crime. It is a must-read for anyone interested in studying transnational organized crime networks, structure, and methodologies. The book also clearly identifies the depth of organized crime groups and the impact they have on society through their exploitation of every human activity. These criminals typically exert their power over both private and public victims. The book also explains how organized crime continues to control certain business and government sectors.
The authors, who both have a background in law, outline both the hierarchies used and the extent of protection rackets that extort money from innumerable legitimate businesses by violence and other threats. The authors describe the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. This legislation, when used in conjunction with advanced technology, provides some leverage for law enforcement when collecting evidence for organized crime to be prosecuted. Throughout history these transnational criminals have used violence and murder to accomplish their goals. There is valuable research on their global culture, yet much is still unknown. The book explores both the theory and specific examples of these crimes.
Each year billions of dollars are illegally diverted from the economy through these types of transnational criminal networks and their activities. They impact international financial markets and the process of money laundering, as well as human trafficking, racketeering, extortion, and many other criminal acts. Unfortunately, laws change slowly relative to the rapid innovative techniques used by organized criminals, so work remains to be done.
Reviewer: Mark H. Beaudry, CPP, is a frequent reviewer for Security Management and a longtime member of ASIS.