The New Ethic Mob by William Kleinknecht explores how the current criminals involved in organized crime are no longer just the Italians. He could be Cuban, Chinese, Russian, African-American, Haitian, or Jamaican. These are the new breed of more sophisticated and more brutal organized criminals. In the preface of the book Kleinknecht states not to mistake this work for a case against immigration in the United States. The author does a great job giving background information on how organized crime emerged in the early part of the nineteenth century.
Then became much stronger though prohibition with Italian, Irish, and Jewish groups controlling this period. However, Kleinknecht’s main focus is the new adeptness of the ethnic organized criminal. After calling and emailing William Kleinknecht many times with no response I am sorry to say that I have no background information on his current interests. I however did find out that he is a crime reporter for the Newark Star Ledger in New Jersey, and The New Ethnic Mob is Bill’s first published book.
As mafia boss after mafia boss goes to jail there is a new ethnic criminal emerging to the forefront of organized crime. A major player that is likely to leave a lasting impact is the Russian mafia. Many experts say they have even surpassed the Italian mafia in there cleverness. They are involved in sophisticated forging, counterfeit, and credit card schemes that have netted them millions of dollars. They have also teamed up with the Italians in gasoline tax evasion. This method of tax evasion is so wide spread the government has set up a special task force to deal with the problem.
The Cuban organized crime syndicate is also said to be on the rise. They are involved in illegal lottery networks and control the numbers outlets in New York City. Jose Miguel Battle is the head of the Cuban Mob, and the mention of his name provokes fear in Hispanic neighborhoods from New York to Florida. It is said that he is bigger than legendary numbers boss Dutch Schultz. The Vietnamese are also gaining strength on the street with extortion and shake down operations. There “MO “is to burglarize jewlery stores in a certain area and get on the highway.
By the time the police are investigating the case they are in another city doing the same thing. This seems to be an effective method for them. When the FBI helps a sub committee in 1987 they recognized the Arab Mob as an extremely dangerous group. They have close ties to the Detroit Italian mafia. While some of them are hard working convenient store owners others are drug kingpins and insurance fraud artists. In Detroit the Arabs supply the Italian mafia with dependable bookmaking operations and run illegal casinos for them.
Vietnamese gangs steal computer chips in Silicon Valley. The Ukrainian steals cars in Chicago and smuggle them to Poland. The Dominicans have become major players in the Columbian drug cartels. The Haitians operate illegal numbers games in New Jersey. Lastly, the Jamaicans have set up organized gangs that have terrorized parts of Queens. As one can see it seems as though every ethnic group has a piece of some sort of illegal operation in the U. S. For year’s experts in the field of organized crime thought that black crime groups would succeed the Italians.
After all, they have been linked to the Italian mob for decades and they often live in the poorest and most violent neighborhoods. As of late African American criminal groups have been getting more organized which has helped them greatly. They deal primarily with drugs. They have dominated the street level cocaine trade in the past decade. In the past five to ten years the black gangs have branched off to the American heartland when competition has become too fierce for them. For example, The streets of Omaha, Nebraska are now controlled by the infamous Los Angeles Crips gang.
These gangs spread violence to wherever they go like virus. Many small town police chiefs have increased man power and special units to deal with incoming gangs. Syracuse police sergeant William Galvin is quoted as saying “These guys are much more violent than our local drug dealers. We used to go a week with one shooting; now we get five to ten a night. ” Today Chinese are involved in gambling, extortion, and narcotics racquets in at least nineteen major U. S. cities. Gangs such as the Wah Chong Boys and the Joe Boys have been terrorizing Chinatown’s since the 1960’s.
In 1984 the president’s commission on organized crime held a hearing on Chinese and Asian organized crime. They have swamped the country with heroin from Hong Kong. Experts say they control 60% of the supply. Even the mafia with there European ties have had to take a back seat. They are rivaling the Italians in size and cohesion. Asian organized criminals can be found in the inner city of New York or San Francisco, and they have even been known to operate in suburban areas such as Bergen County, New Jersey. California Attorney General John Van De Camp has said he could no longer cope with Asian crime with out federal help.
The FBI in Los Angeles has one squad dedicated solely to Asian crime. Asian crime was never considered a top priority because most of it was occurring in Chinatown. Now it is seen as though it has paramount importance. Another factor that has made it easier for these ethnic organized criminals to flourish is the language barrier. Ways that the FBI usually obtains intelligence about a specific group is through undercover work and wire taps. Many Japanese and Vietnamese gangs use slang to communicate. Consequently it is difficult to obtain evidence on these criminals.
Federal authorizes are slowly gaining knowledge, but they do admit they know very little about some of the most dangerous Cuban gangs. The general essence of the book is that traditional Italian mafia families are fading out of existence to make way for the new ethnic criminal. These new ethnic criminals from other countries are not scared or intimidated by the Italians the way it was in the middle and later part of the nineteenth century. The Italians have been weakened by Regan’s administration waging war with the bosses and plain incompetent leadership. The mafia has been more or less phased out in many major cities.
Furthermore, former mayor Giuliani has been quoted as saying that in five to ten years if the federal government keeps going forward there might not be any organized crime in New York anymore. I think that is a little bit of an overstatement, but he is not far off with his claim. The mafia lacks the old world leadership it once has with bosses like Carlo Gambino and Vincent Ginante from the Genovese family. These bosses kept a low profile and evaded authorities for the better part of there stretch as boss. This low profile attitude seems to be the key to longevity for the bosses.
The newer bosses like John Gotti are on TV and magazine covers. In my opinion Gotti was responsible for his own downfall by being such a public figure. The modern media glorifies the mafia (primarily the Italian) as if they are some type of heroes when in reality they are cold blooded killers. Many people do not want to see the mafia die. Some people in society see the mafia as men of honor. They have become a precious American clichi??. John Gotti was the living personification of this myth. For example, at the peak of John Gotti’s power in the mid to late eighties he used to assemble large July 4th firework celebrations.
The children and adults in Queens, NY would come out by the thousands to watch. These same people would celebrate in the streets of NY when Mr. Gotti was quitted. The public loses the fact that he is responsible for hundreds of murders. Kleinknecht claims this book is not an attack on immigration. There are many passages in the text to support this. However there is also many times where his feelings about this subject are inconsistent. For example, he states “Some of these immigrants brought with them the criminal traditions of there countries to American cities.
There are some conflicting ideas that are makes the reader unsure of what his stance is on immigration. I also did not like how the author stereotyped many ethnic groups. He is over generalizing groups of people. For example there were many times where has says “Jews are smart, and good business men. ” Or “The Irish were fighters. ” I thought that was in bad taste. The author laid out his argument well with a vast amount of supporting details. Many secondary sources claim that the Russians are going to be the dominating force in organized crime in the next century.
I agree with the author his claim that the Asians are going to be the twentieth century version of the Italian mafia. Asian crime groups are involved in an extensive number of racquets that seem to be enduring. The Asians are very secretive and tradition oriented just as the Italians before them. Another aspect that the Asians have in there favored is that thousands of Asians are still immigrating into the U. S every year. Recruiting new criminals will not be a problem. As big as the Asians get I feel they will never have the effect on American society that the Italians once had.
The criminal world used to be much simpler. When a man with a $1,000 suit was found dead the authorities and the general public had a good sense as to who was responsible. Today, one would be lucky to narrow it down to fifty people from ten different ethnic groups. A help is the ethnicity of the body, but that sometimes doesn’t even solve the mystery. I feel the author argued every side of the issues fairly discussing both points of view. One subject the author touched on but did not discuss as thoroughly as I would have liked is why certain ethnic groups faded out of the organized crime scene.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the new ethnic wave of organized crime. Anyone who is tired of seeing the same old information about the Italian mafia, and wants to find out up to date information on current organized crime trends. I would also recommend this book to a scholarly expert, more specifically a Criminologist. The author goes into great detail about each ethnic group’s activity in organized crime. The authors writing style flows beautifully making this a particularly easy read. As Robert Merton said the Goal is emphasized not the Means.
Immigrants learned this from the Robber barons such as Rockefeller and Morgan that would go any means ethical or unethical to get that dollar. This is true in today’s society as with scandals such as Enron looming over us. Culture then and now are materialistic and money hungry. They equate how big ones check book is with success in life. I feel that how much money one makes does not parallel how successful of a person they are. As long as there is a preoccupation with money there will be organized crime in America.