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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77111 Find in a Library
Title: Taking It Easy
Journal: Saturday Evening Post  Dated:(May/June 1981)  Pages:61-63,112
Author(s): D Harrop
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 4
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article considers the profitmaking aspects of criminal activity in the United States; major sources of criminal income are discussed.
Abstract: Crime is big business in the United States, currently employing an estimated 500,000 career criminals. The annual 'take' from crime of all kinds is over $100 billion. Illegal gambling is the largest single source of criminal income, but other crimes are also increasing. Arson, in particular, has grown at a rapid rate in recent years, with losses in arson-caused fires rising from about $74 million in 1965 to over $2 billion in total property and related losses in 1978. The core facet of illegal gambling remains the numbers racket, grossing an estimated $14 to 15 billion annually, with a total profit margin of about 40 percent. Narcotics dealing is considered more dangerous and socially unacceptable than gambling and is more closely scrutinized by law enforcement officials. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, it costs about $28,000 per year for a drug addict to maintain an addiction; there are an estimated 110,000 to 160,000 such addicts in the United States. Loan sharking is another illegal enterprise where organized crime predominates. Loan sharks, who share their profits with the mob in return for protection, can make over $175,000 yearly on the average. Hijacking is another widespread and profitable crime. Truckloads of goods are often stolen by hijackers and sold to fences for redistribution into the market. Profits depend on the size of the theft and the number of accomplices. Auto theft, fraud, kidnapping, and prostitution also provide large profits for criminals. The article suggests that society cannot halt the ambition to realize financial gain, but can only attempt to channel it into constructive, rather than destructive, output that will enrich the individual and the public as well. Three photographs are included.
Index Term(s): Arson; Crime costs; Drug law offenses; Fraud; Hijacking; Illegal gaming/gambling; Kidnapping; Loan sharking; Motor Vehicle Theft; Numbers game; Organized crime; Profiteering; Prostitution
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