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Introduction to the Special IssueThe Rise and Fall of Chicago's Organized Crime Family: A Brief History of the Outfit

NCJ Number
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume: 29 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2013 Pages: 184-197
John J. Binder; Arthur J. Lurigio
Date Published
May 2013
14 pages
This special issues discusses Chicago's organized crime family.
Chicago's organized crime family emerged from the politically sponsored criminal activities of Jim Colosimo, which were concentrated in the city's corrupt Levee District. Unwilling to take advantage of the lucrative opportunities that accompanied the passage of the Volstead Act (Prohibition), Colosimo was assassinated and replaced by Johnny Torrio who partnered with Al Capone to lead the organization. Capone and his allies outfought other gangs during the Beer Wars and assumed control over bootlegging and other criminal activities, becoming the largest criminal organization at the end of the 1920s. The Outfit was born during Frank Nitti's reign, expanding its reach into labor racketeering, gambling, and extortion. The Outfit thrived from 1930 to 1960, virtually unscathed by law enforcement activities and unchallenged by rival criminal organizations. Changes in the city's political structures, neighborhood compositions, as well as successful FBI investigations, forced the Outfit to contract its membership and activities during the previous 30 years. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.