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Backgrounds of convicted offenders

Many organized crime offenders are arrested and incarcerated a higher number of times, compared to those committing traditional street crimes. This difference may be partially due to the fact that organized crime is often a career choice, a crime path followed over a certain amount of time by individuals.

Organized crime and conventional street criminals therefore differ in that organized crime is the product of career criminals with often longer-term criminal relationships who carry out crimes that involve advance planning and organization. Street criminals usually commit crimes against property or crimes of violence that involve less planning or organization (Gordon, 2000; Kleemans and de Poot, 2008; Reiss, 1988; Vere van Koppen, de Poot and Kleemans, 2010).

This comparative lack of sophistication in planning crimes has relevant consequences and implications for the formulation of crime prevention and criminal justice strategies. While organized crime offenders are generally arrested and incarcerated a higher number of times in the course of their criminal careers, street criminals tend to be apprehended with greater frequency in connection with the commission of their first criminal offences. Organized crime offenders also use corruption and other illicit methods to protect their criminal enterprises, which reduce the risks of apprehension in the short-term.