Organized crime refers to a network of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals in an organized manner and who are engaged in illegal activities. Such criminal organizations are well organized with a clear chain of command and segregation of duties among its members in much a similar way to a lawful organization or government. The only distinction between organized crime organizations and other lawful organizations is that they are engaged in illegal activities. It is organized crime organizations that are usually responsible for transnational crimes. Transnational crimes denote crimes that have significanteffects in more than one country. This is because such transnational crimes involve the crossing of the border of a country and into another. Examples of crimes of a transnational nature and which are perpetrated by organized crime groups include drug trafficking, terrorism, cybercrime, moneylaundering and smuggling of weapons and people. Several countries have acted to counter these transnational crimes through collaboration, sharing of information and extradition of suspected criminals to their respective countries for prosecution. This paper shall examine two particular types of organized crimes that are of a transnational nature namely Excise fraud and VAT fraud and explore the impact of these crimes on victims as well as the general society. Next, the paper shall look into the impact of advances in technology and computerization on crime and the differences between the three levels of crime prevention. In conclusion, the paper shall consider the area that has the greatest need for crime prevention policy to avert crime.
It may sometimes be the case that perpetrators of transnational crime may never leave their resident country. However, crimes that these criminals perpetrate may have a direct impact on other nations and particular victims of such crimes. A case in point is cybercrime where criminals use the internet to perpetrate crime. Usually, the internet has no boundaries and anyone who is a consumer of the internet may fall victim to fraud.
Excise fraud involves the smuggling of goods into a nation so as to evade the excise tax levied on imports and exports. Organized criminals are involved in this crime that is of a transnational nature as they have the requisite capacity and networks to achieve the same. A major way in which excise fraud has been perpetrated in the United Kingdom has been through the smuggling of tobacco and cigarettes into the country. The HM Revenue and Customs which ahs the primary role of checking on smuggling of goods estimated that between 1-2.3 billion pounds in revenue were lost due to smuggling of cigarettes. It is reported that out of five cigarettes that are smoked in the UK, one of them is smuggled. Tobacco smuggling in the UK is a transnational crime as it transcends the nation and is practiced by well organized groups.
Most of the smuggled tobacco into the UK comes from several countries such as China, the Baltic States, the Balkans and Africa. It is also emerging that Belgium has come out as a primary source of illicit cigarettes in addition to traditional sources such as China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore. Regional airports have been used as conduits for the smuggling of goods by tourists and other organized criminals. This has been made possible by relatively cheap flights. Once goods reach their destination, the goods are diverted into the illicit market without payment of the requisite excise duty. The tracks left by this illegal act are covered by use of forged documents. Other smuggled goods include fuel and alcohol. The impact of excise fraud on the economy as evidenced in this discourse is the loss of revenue that would otherwise be used for developmental purposes in the society.
Value Added Tax fraud is aimed at evading paying the tax. This fraud is categorized into three categories such as registered evader fraud, thief fraud and unregistered evader fraud. In the first type of fraud, registered VAT traders fail to declare the correct returns or liability so as to suppress the amount of tax to be paid. Organized criminals find this type of fraud luring owing to the huge profits present as well as the comparatively low penalties charged to defaulters. However, organized crime features more prominently in thief fraud where criminals set up bogus company registrations with the aim of stealing Value Added Tax. One of the types of thief fraud is repayment fraud where VAT is recovered on purely fictitious transactions made possible by bogus companies. Advances in technology have facilitated the creation of apparently authentic invoices to support the fraudulent transactions.
The other type of thief fraud is known as missing trader intra-community fraud. This systematic criminal attack consists of obtaining a VAT registration to purchase goods from a VAT-free source elsewhere in Europe, selling the goods at a price inclusive of VAT and then going missing without paying over the VAT. The upshot of this is a loss to the Treasury and at other times a further loss when refunds are made to the bogus traders. This type of fraud is also known as acquisition fraud and is common in items of high and fast turnovers which are moved in high volumes, such as confectionaries. According to estimates by HM Revenue and Customs, this type of fraud which is high up in the organization’s priority, cost the Exchequer between 1.7 to 2.75 billion pounds in the year 2009. VAT fraud had a heavy impact on the society as it deprives it of the necessary income in terms of taxation which would be used in the creation of amenities and other developmental projects. As such, individual indirect victims of VAT fraud, suffer economically.
Impact of recent developments in computer and technology on crime
With the increasing complexity of business transactions and technological advancement, there has been a worrying trend of increase in crimes that are of a transnational nature. These global crimes pose a challenge to different criminal justice systems in different regimes and necessitate a concerted effort among several countries. The global crimes are of such a nature that they transcend the borders of a nation and thus efficient combat demands cross-border mechanisms.
Various global crimes as well as criminal issues have arisen as a result of globalization. Drug trafficking, child trafficking, kidnapping, money laundering and other sex crimes have increased as a result of globalization.
Organized crimes such as racketeering, drug trade and illegal gambling have proliferated majorly owing to globalization. People are now able to trade, communicate, convey goods and offer services irrespective of the geographical location expediently. In the case of drug trafficking, it is normally the case that the producers of such drugs are not mainly the significant consumers. An enormous market for drugs is mostly in Europe while the significant shippers of drugs are South American countries. In order to facilitate this illicit trade, it requires high intelligence and secret communication as well as the conniving of compromised security agencies to enable the trade to thrive. Also, the same trade requires efficient means of transportation so as to evade all general traps usually present at significant international airports.
Similar practices and requirements are a general feature in other crimes of a global nature such as racketeering, gambling, kidnapping and money laundering. The advancement in technology has also contributed to the emergence of cybercrime which includes the transport of pornographic materials, hacking of computers and visitation of viruses and other malicious programmes on electronic devices. The challenge of confronting such crimes is compounded further by different nations which have different criminal justice systems, processes and regimes. A case in point is the issue of online gambling which was legal under European law and practiced by United Kingdom firms but illegal in the United States. Such an instance poses serious challenges in implementation of a policy and combat of the same crime owing to the inability to forge a concerted war against the vice. Efficient fight against such crimes is only possible with the harmonization of the various legal instruments subsistent in the respective countries or the existence of similar criminal justice systems which is and shall hardly be the case.
In the same vein, the revolution created by technology has also presented problems in the banking sector. There now exists online banking as well as cell phone money transfer services which have posed challenges to the relevant authorities in tracking the systems more so in an era where there is an absence of the law in operation. The law must keep in pace with the technology so as to curb any mischief that is likely to be perpetrated by persons who are dishonest. Nonetheless, it is also anticipated that the law can only be reactive to a technological change rather than being proactive, and therein lays the challenge.
There are three levels of crime prevention. The first level of crime prevention is known as the primary level andtargets young people who have not yet been involved in delinquent activities. It is aimed at public education of people about the significance of disengaging from crime. At this level, the programs are of a universal nature and are based on the populace. The other level of crime prevention is the secondary level and targets youths who are finishing school and are at a higher risk of engaging in criminal activity. At this level, there are also programs of parenting for parents who are at a high risk of engaging in criminal activities. The other level of crime prevention which occurs at an advanced stage is known as the tertiary level. At this level, crime prevention concerns itself with the rehabilitation of the offender and other supervision programs aimed at ensuring that offenders do not engage in further crimes.
I consider football fans travelling to football matches creating trouble in my area as being one of the most significantneed for a crime prevention policy so as to avert the same. This prevention policy could take the form of football banning orders which would act as a preventative measure designed to stop persons likely to cause trouble in football matches from traveling. These banning orders may be issued by courts following convictions for football related offences in areas such as mine which are notorious for this behavior.
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