Italian Mafia in the United States
The Italian mafia in the United States is a highly organized and an influential criminal group of Italian-American origin. The groups originated from Sicily in Italy and the organization at the time was referred to as ‘Cosa Nostra,’ in Italian, or Sicilian Mafia. In the later years, it spread to the United States, dispersing some of the criminal acts it had portrayed in Italy. Besides, some of these harsh criminal behavior has also found their way to Canada though in limited ways as compared to the U.S.
In America, the rise of the groups was more evident in the areas resided by Italian immigrants particularly in Brooklyn, Lower East Side, and East Harlem in the city of New York. Most of the populations that transferred the culture to the United States were from the south of Italy. Although the culture has spread in some ways to many American cities, the most hit region is the Northeastern part comprising of several states including New Jersey, New York, New England, and Philadelphia.
Present Activities of the Italian Mafia in the United States
Although mafias had been operational for quite some time in the United States, the 20th century saw the rise and dominance of these groups which were engaging in activities such as prostitution rings, loan-sharking, to illegal gambling. Besides that, the gangs had also chosen to invest in some legitimate businesses as a way of covering their tracks. The practice continues to date where Italian-American criminal gangs have conducted violent as well as illegal economic activities while hiding behind their legal businesses. However, today the organizations do not act so much in the open as the end of the 20thcentury had seen a fierce fight between the group and law enforcing agencies. Nevertheless, the remnants of these groups still pose a real threat to in the 21st century. In fact, in the contemporary world, the challenge of defeating the mafia is embedded in the operational network they have established which have spread across states, and sometimes even countries. That has made it quite difficult for the governments to hunt down the ringleaders of the criminal organizations, as different laws operate in each of the regions. As such, the kind of punishment given for a crime as well as the evidence collection mechanism could present more loopholes in some areas than others.
Moreover, the gangs have been able to evolve over time, with members establishing reliableconnections with police officers. That gives them an opportunity to accessing security information about them and any likely attacks against them. Besides that, they have also adapted to popular culture commodity, where they disguise the society and the law enforcers by reducing the regularly publicized meetings. Again, sometimes the leadership of the organizations has become imprisoned as a covering up process. That lowers the pressure mounted on the group by law enforcers, hence giving them an easy time to grow without being closely monitored by the authority. As such, the gangs thrive easily when not under the watchful eye of governmental agencies.
Also, the organizations have well adapted to the changes, particularly in the economy and technology. For example, to avoid being caught up in money laundering charges, the groups are increasingly running both legitimate and illegitimate businesses. The process has become attractive to ensuring that all the wealth acquired through unlawful means can be channeled back to the country’s financial system through legal means. As such, it reduces the chances of having evidence collected against the group on charges of money laundering survive in court. Again, the gangs have resulted into employing or including professionals among their membership. In such cases, they have had well-trained lawyers, detectives, and computer experts, whose sole responsibility is to erase any evidence that may link a crime to their organization. Additionally, the groups have assumed new roles where they have established relationships with the community members as a way of shielding themselves against possible resistance.
Impact of Mafia on the United States
In the modern times Ndrangheta has engaged in drug trafficking, firearm offences, and money laundering in the United States. The group has been known to have operated a drug ring that connected Europe, South America, Canada, and the United States, making it one of the largest drug rings in the world. In fact, FBI believed the organization to have transacted cocaine trade worth millions of dollar in the year 2015 alone.
Besides, the organization had positioned itself as the leader and regulator of other criminal gangs in the city of New York, hence allowing and supporting the increase of illegal activities. Moreover, that has also contributed to money laundering that has resulted into the loss of revenue for the United States government as the activities of the group are not taxed. As such, the Italian mafia subculture has led to increasing insecurity in various neighborhoods within American cities, as well as contributed to the growth of serious criminal activities like drug trafficking.
Impact of Mafia on Hollywood
In many modern movies, there has been increasing presence of gangster lifestyle that is meant to inspire the audience towards a particular direction. As such, the mafia life style has become common in most movies with the ruthlessness, and the illegal business prowess of these groups getting over represented. Over the decades, the Hollywood has characterized the mafia culture in the reality as well as in fictions. The characters represented have at times depicted on what happens in reality in the criminal lifestyles of these gangsters, both to the members and the country. On the other hand, for the purpose of entertainment, it has in other ways been exaggerated.
For example, in most times, it has become exaggerated to show how the criminal gangs operate to maintain ‘honor’ amongst themselves, as well as a personal brand. Besides, the approach has largely been used to depict the criminal gangs associated with the Italian-Americans. As such, according to Hollywood, any wealthy individual of an Italian-American decent with criminal behavior has always appeared as owning as well as running a mafia group.
How it is Like to Become a Member of Cosa Nostra
By accepting to participate in mafia activities, individuals hold the views that they will acquire honor. However, joining the group has both advantages as well as disadvantages to the members. Some of the benefits to members of Cosa Nostra include money, power, fame, and control. As one moves up the hierarchy, they become leaders of various sub-groups, giving them the necessary authority to impose their will in a certain jurisdiction. Nevertheless, some of the disadvantages of being part of the criminal entity are one’s denial of freedom to make a choice independently.
For instance, when one chooses to enter and participate in the group’s activities, they are not allowed to leave for the fear of exposing the organization’s secrets. Again, their security is only guaranteed so long as they abide by the rules sets by the mafia.
Process of Becoming a Cosa Nostra Member
The procedure of becoming a mafia member originates from the group which evaluates a potential candidate before initiating contact with them. When the assessment is considered positive, the likely individual gets an invitation to join, and a courtship process gets commenced to convince them of the benefits of becoming a member. As such an offer becomes made to an individual, and they accept or rejects it. If accepted, an initiation ceremony is scheduled and conducted where various rituals are performed after whichthey are is presented with the rules and required to proof themselves. If accepted, the individuals then become a full member of the organization.