Organized Crime in Chicago





Organized Crime in Chicago

After the Great Chicago Fire in October 1871 razed most of the buildings, property and infrastructure in Chicago, the city’s stakeholders set to renovate and rebuild the city. With the widespread urbanization, the city experienced a dual emergence of prosperity and urbanization as well as new social problems including poverty, crime, and congestion. However, organized crime was already present in the city for about two decades earlier. Urbanization brought with it major legal changes such as the Volstead Act that had the effect of consolidating organized crime. The strict regulations facilitated the emergence of powerful crime gangs such as Al Capone and Louis Marino. Since the passage of the numerous bills was not backed by public opinion, the criminals managed to team up with the police force in addition to specific factions of politicians. The widespread bribery and corruption in the government was characterized by a massive influx of illegal activities such as drug trafficking, prostitution and theft. Many illegal enterprises emerged to take advantage of the flexible environment. The bootleg liquor industry headed by Elliot Ness is a classic example. These activities disrupted the normal flow of revenue from legal commercial activities. Consequently, they also affected the collection of tax, issuance of licenses and conducting of regular inspections on the premises. The harsh regulations against the brewing and consumption of liquor ultimately led to widespread bootlegging. Furthermore, the reconstruction efforts attracted a large number of settlers, construction companies, and investors. This large influx gave the government a greater burden to regulate and monitor. The ratio of police officers to the public was very uneven and this allowed illegal activities to thrive. The government also wasted significant amounts of funds attempting to restrict criminal gangs and businesses. This money could be invested for development purposes. Therefore, it can be concluded that organized crime in Chicago contributed greatly to economic deterioration.

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