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Mafia

“Anyone who is deaf, blind and dumb will live a hundred years in peace.” So reads the proverb in the book penned by the Sicilian ethnographer Giuseppe Pitrè. Conjuring the fundamental principle of omertà (code of silence), this proverb highlights the historical importance of remaining...

This is the second of two Informer blogs by Dwight Smith examining how we think about organised crime. The first part was published on Monday 30 July.

Initially, organised...

Robert Putnam’s Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, published in the early 1990s, is one of the most influential books in comparative politics. The book sought to investigate what factors contribute to good...

It’s an ordinary summer day in Australia, with families gathering for barbeques, kids playing in the streets and couples frolicking in the surf. It is 1967, and a man drives to a house in a suburban street. His brother and sister-in-law are inside. He knocks on the door, walks in, pulls out a...

Banner image: A police raid confiscating illegal alcohol in 1925. Prohibition  saw the rise of the smuggling enterprises or “cartels” that typify contraband capitalism. Image courtesty of Wikimedia. 

The locution “criminal organisations” works better than “organised crime” for drawing attention to variation along the following lines. Different categories of organisation have distinctive revenue streams, modes of committing or modulating violence, origin myths, cultural practices and...

In 2009, a few scrap pieces of paper were found in a cupboard during an arrest of a camorrista – a member of the Neapolitan Camorra – in the town of Ercolano, close to Naples. This scrap paper...

The bunker-courthouse used in the Maxi Trial, which led to the conviction of 360 mafiosi. Central to Judge Giovanni Falcone's pursuit of the mafia was the principle of 'follow the money'. Courtesy of Wikimedia

Money is power. People will assume that this statement is so obvious it no longer needs repeating. Yet many law enforcement agencies do not seem to have got the message. Money is the crucial element that links organised crime with corrupt officials within governments, financial institutions and...

On the 4th of February 1991, Mario Tamburrino was unloading barrels from his truck when a life-changing accident occurred: the truck driver was...

Stefano Betti is an expert on transnational criminal law and policy. In addition to being Senior Advisor at the Siracusa Institute, he collaborates with several UN entities including the UN Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the UN Interregional...

Jay S. Albanese is a professor in the Wilder School of Government & Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.  He received the Ph.D. from the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University. Dr. Albanese served as Chief of the International Center at the National Institute of...

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