Organized crime is a long-term problem. Criminal groups often follow careful long-range plans. This kind of crime often has deep roots in subcultures, neighborhoods, and families. Society as a whole ignores organized crime at its peril.
Individual crime is often impulsive. It is often perpetrated by outsiders, people who tend to be given serious psychological diagnoses once they are captured. Individual crime is corrupting to the criminal, who can be seen proceeding from petty crime to more and more serious crimes, and longer and longer sentences throughout his career.
Organized criminals are often the people selling the drugs and accepting the bets Individual criminals are almost always the people taking the drugs and making the bets.
Organized crime runs the drug trade. It is almost universally illegal, and yet it is universally successful. Growers, manufacturers, carriers and sellers work together to ensure rich profits for all. Arrests are very rare.
Organized crime smuggles people, and often finds them illegal work. This is another example of crime that the larger society does not see as a problem.
Organized crime runs much of the trade in women and girls. This is still another crime that many see as victimless. It is not, for the neighborhoods trashed by such crime, or for the people forced into it.
Individual criminals often buy the drugs. Buying drugs is not much of a crime, but the crimes individuals commit for money to buy drugs can be quite serious. Individual criminals tear up thousands of dollars worth of wiring, plumbing, or street lighting, to sell for a few dollars for drugs.
Individual criminals are breaking the immigration and labor laws of countries where smugglers take them. They work hard and long, sometimes in illegal jobs like making meth or cleaning marihuana, to pay their smugglers and send money home.
Individual sex workers are breaking all sorts of laws, as well as putting themselves at risk. They re not well compensated for the jobs they do.
Other individual criminals commit crimes of shocking violence out of frustration and rage. The rage of organized crime does not come from frustration. It is calculated to create a climate in which organized crime can do as it will.
Individual crimes can make victims feel violated and frightened; suddenly aware that they are living in dangerous world. Organized crime, on the other hand can seem harmless or even benign to people who feel sure they will never meet a criminal.
Organized crime hides and grows until its power is overwhelming. Victims then come to accept that they are living in a world of crime and to believe that there is no escape possible. Ask the ordinary citizens in the places where organized crime has taken hold.