Pubdate: Wed, 04 Mar 2009
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Times Colonist
Author: John Anderson


In a 2003 report for Canada's Department of Justice, criminologist
Thomas Gabor reviewed the research which assesses domestic and
international efforts to control organized crime.

He found that most crime-control efforts are justified by anecdote,
the plural of which does not constitute data.

According to Gabor, the least effective means for dealing with
organized crime include prosecuting organized crime leaders,
legislation to control money-laundering, seizing assets obtained by
crime and trying to reduce the supply of illegal goods and services
through interdiction and enforcement. The research tells us that the
worldwide supply of drugs is largely unaffected by enforcement tactics
and gangs will fight over drug distribution networks.

Criminal organizations rapidly create new supply routes and have an
unlimited global supply of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.

Organized crime leaders are quickly replaced and money laundering laws
are ineffective because of the sheer volume of transactions and the
lack of co-operation from domestic parties and foreign

Forfeiture and asset seizures are costly, and only a miniscule part of
proceeds are captured.

Earning the "moderate" or "moderate-high" ratings are strategies such
as prosecuting actors within criminal organizations (especially under
taxation laws), strike and drug task forces and electronic
surveillance. One of the most effective strategies are witness
protection programs which help prosecute those within criminal

Going after gangs requires a formal means for evaluating the
anticipated and unintended consequences of our laws and policies. Only
then will we avoid the mistake of repeating the same efforts while
expecting different outcomes.

John Anderson, PhD

chairman, criminology department Vancouver Island University

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