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ON THE TAKE - FROM PETTY CROOKS TO PRESIDENTS

NCJ Number
50101
Author(s)
W J CHAMBLISS
Date Published
1978
Length
281 pages
Annotation
ILLEGAL BUSINESS, INVOLVING GAMBLING, DRUGS, USURY, BUSINESS FRAUD, PROSTITUTION, PROFESSIONAL THEFT, AND ROBBERY IN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON IS DESCRIBED.
Abstract
RELIANCE ON POLICE AND OTHER LAW-ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES FOR INFORMATION ON ORGANIZED CRIME OFTEN LEADS TO AN OVEREMPHASIS OF THE STEREOTYPED ROLE OF THE CRIMINAL WHILE IGNORING THE IMPORTANCE AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF BUSINESSMEN, POLITICIANS, AND LAW ENFORCERS IN THS AREA. AN ACTUAL EXAMINATION REVEALS THAT ORGANIZED CRIME IS NOT SOMETHING THAT EXISTS OUTSIDE OF LAW AND GOVERNMENT BUT IS, IN FACT, A CREATION OF BOTH. A LOCAL CRIME NETWORK EXISTS IN SEATTLE, THAT IS CONNECTED TO NATIONAL BUSINESS AND POLITICAL INTERESTS. THE TRADITIONAL VIEW OF ORGANIZED CRIME IN WHICH OPERATIONS ARE CONTROLLED BY ITALIAN-AMERICAN FAMILIES FOLLOWING THEIR OWN REGULATIONS AND CODES MUST BE REJECTED. ALTHOUGH THERE MAY BE NO ACTUAL CONSPIRACY ON THE PART OF POLITICIANS AND OTHER LEADERS TO DECEIVE THE PUBLIC, THE WIDELY HELD VIEW OF THE MAFIA PROVIDES A CONVENIENT WAY TO EXPLAIN A PHENOMENON THAT IS OTHERWISE DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH. THE INCIDENTS INVOLVING 'GOD FATHERS' AND OTHER COLORFUL CHARACTERS ALSO MAKE GOOD NEWSPAPER COPY. THIS PICTURE OF ORGANIZED CRIME DIFFERS FROM THE TRADITIONAL VIEW IN TWO WAYS. FIRST, ORGANIZED CRIME IS NOT RUN AND CONTROLLED BY A NATIONAL SYNDICATE WITH A COMMISSION OR BOARD OF DIRECTORS WHO HAVE FEUDAL-LIKE CONTROL OVER A NETWORK SPREAD ACROSS THE NATION. THOSE WHO CONTROL THE CRIME ORGANIZATION VARY FROM CITY TO CITY AND FROM TIME TO TIME. SECOND, THE IDEA OF A SYNDICATE THAT RULES ORGANIZED CRIME IS DECEPTIVE IN IMPLYING THAT ORGANIZED CRIME IS RUN BY PRIVATE CITIZENS. RESEARCH INDICATES THAT ORGANIZED CRIME REALLY CONSISTS OF A COALITION OF POLITICIANS, LAW-ENFORCEMENT PEOPLE, BUSINESSMEN, UNION LEADERS, AND RACKETEERS. A NETWORK PERSISTS WITHIN WHICH THE INDIVIDUALS FLUCTUATE. IN SEATTLE, THE GROUP WHICH MANAGED AND PROFITED FROM ORGANIZED CRIME WAS COMPOSED OF SOME OF THE LEADING CITIZENS OF THE CITY AND THE STATE. THE STUDY BEGAN IN SEATTLE IN 1962 AND CONTINUED THROUGH 1967. FINDINGS ARE BASED ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCES IN THE BACKROOMS OF CABARETS, CARDROOMS, JAILS, EXECUTIVE SUITES, AND POLITICIANS' CHAMBERS. ALTHOUGH THE BOOK DESCRIBES THE CRIME SYSTEM IN SEATTLE, THIS SYSTEM IS BELIEVED TO BE REPRESENTATIVE OF THOSE FOUND IN MANY CITIES THROUGHOUT THE NATION.