U.S. Crime Trends
The activities generated by global organized crime pose major challenges
to U.S. security at home and national interests abroad. The activities of
the organized crime groups based in Russia, Italy, Asia, Nigeria, Mexico
and Columbia have all contributed significantly to a developing and expanding
threat to US security. Several examples bear this out.
Heavily influenced by organized crime entities, illicit drug trade in the U.S. produces $50-100 billion per year for criminals. (13) Transnational criminal activity also contributes extensively to illegally exported stolen vehicles, with some several hundred thousand shipped out of the country to Central America and Eastern Europe. (14) Another figure that demonstrates the impact of global organized crime is that there were at least 100,000 Chinese immigrants illegally smuggled into the U.S. in the two year span from 1994-1996, along with hundreds of thousands of migrants from other countries.(15) A final detraction to national security interests is the $100 billion in U.S. currency that is laundered annually utilizing U.S. financial institutions. (16)
Implications for U.S. National Security
The increased association of global organized crime with other security
problems poses a difficult challenge for U.S. officials responsible for
developing and implementing effective security programs. Overall, it is
now necessary to consider the influence of organized crime as an integral
factor in planning and policymaking on political, military and economic
issues. Transnational crime by organized groups has resulted in new intelligence
requirements that are mainly addressed by law enforcement agencies.(17)
These now include the collection and analysis of criminal intelligence that
is linked to the surge in electronic computer fraud connected to international
There is a clear need for U.S. policies and assistance abroad to be more involved with strengthening foreign state institutions toward preventing organized crime groups from gaining a foothold. This would require carefully balancing U.S. interests, goals and foreign policy initiatives against the consequences of minimizing the impact that global organized crime has on America's international status.(19) Challenging and defeating the expansive networks of global organized crime networks that affect U.S. security interests will ultimately require a higher level of international cooperation than the Cold War environment dictated.
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