Effective: Late Spring 8-Week, 2018/2019

CJAD 421: Organized Crime

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  Course Description

Overview of organized crime. Emphasis is placed on the theories and evolution of organized crime, the principal forms of organized criminal activity, and efforts to investigate, control and prosecute.

Prerequisite: CJAD 101 and ENGL 112 taken previously or concurrently.

Proctored Exams: None



  • Lyman, M. D., & Potter, G. W. . (2015). Organized Crime (6th). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc. .  
    • [ISBN-978-0-13-357173-8]

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

The purpose of this course is to provide the student with a general understanding of organized crime. The material is presented from a legal, historical, theoretical, and practical perspective so that the student will develop an understanding of the aspects of organized crime activity. Students will engage topics through presentations by the instructor, assigned readings and research, video and audio podcasts, case studies, investigative process review, problem solving discussions and classroom discussion. The course will explore the theories and history of organized crime, legitimate and illegal businesses, domestic organized crime and criminal street gangs, terrorism as it relates to organized crime, political and corporate connections to organized crime, and law enforcement and legislative efforts at controlling organized crime. The student should demonstrate a working knowledge and understanding of the course learning objectives and demonstrating the ability to discuss and apply theoretical concepts in a practical manner.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Differentiate different types of organized criminal activity.
  2. Articulate the influence of historical, political, and social conditions on the development of organized crime.
  3. Describe the role of various law enforcement agencies in the investigation and control of organized crime and the constitutional limitations upon investigating.
  4. Critique the theoretical framework for organized crime presented in the text and its implications for law enforcement practice.
  5. Assess the role of corporate and political connections in operations of organized crime groups.
  6. Critique current research literature on organized crime.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Online Activity (1) 20 2%
Discussions (16) 240 24%
Assignments (8) 280 28%
Research Paper 320 32%
Quizzes (7) 140 14%
Total 1000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 (Introductions) 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 2 15
Online Activity 20 Sunday
Assignment 1 35

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 4 15
Assignment 2 35 Sunday
Quiz 1 20
Research Paper: Topic Submission 0

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 6 15
Assignment 3 35 Sunday
Quiz 2 20

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 8 15
Assignment 4 35 Sunday
Quiz 3 20
Research Paper: Outline 25

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 10 15
Assignment 5 35 Sunday
Quiz 4 20
Research Paper: Annotated Bibliography 25

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 12 15
Assignment 6 35 Sunday
Quiz 5 20

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 14 15
Assignment 7 35 Sunday
Quiz 6 20

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 16 15
Assignment 8 35 Sunday
Quiz 7 20
Research Paper 270 Thursday
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview


Each week will have two (2) Discussion topics/questions to answer. Discussion topics will become available at 12:01 am Monday and all work must be completed by 11:59 pm CT Sunday (11:59 pm CT Saturday of Week 8).

You must make one initial post per topic by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday. You must then respond to at least three (3) student initial posts by 11:59 pm CT Sunday (11:59 pm CT Saturday of Week 8).

Initial Discussion posts must be at least 100 words. Replies must be in complete sentences. Quotes and references must have appropriate attribution. Each Discussion is worth 15 points.

Online Activity

In a 1-2 page, double-spaced paper, describe how the National Crimnial Justice Referral Service (www.ncjrs.gov) may be helpful to your studies in CJAD 421. Additionally, explore the website and its various menu and topical areas.

The completed short summary must be submitted to the dropbod by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 1. The Online Activity is worth 20 points.


Each week will have one (1) short written paper assignment with prompts/questions to answer. Assignments must be completed using Microsoft Word in 1-2 pages, double-spaced with proper in-text citations and references provided on a separate page.

Completed Assignments should be submitted to the appropriate dropbox folder by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of the week they are due (except in Week 8 where they are due at 11:59 pm CT Saturday). Each Assignment is worth 35 points.

Research Paper

You will complete a Research Paper after compiling research on an organized crime group, an organized crime figure, or an organized crime control effort.

The Research Paper will have several smaller building assignments in Weeks 2, 4, and 5. The final Research Paper is due to the dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Thursday of Week 8.

Your final Research Paper should be 6-10 pages (double-spaced) highlighting the research and findings of the research, as well as original insight and reflection. The paper should include an introduction, body, and conclusion and be organized into paragraphs with approximately eight sentences developing a single topic. Additionally, it will be supported by the inclusion of an Annotated Bibliography. The Annotated Bibliography should contain at least 6-8 references from books or peer-reviewed journal articles. College textbooks and pop websites such as Wikipedia are not appropriate sources.

References and graphics/infographics do not count toward the page total. It must be completed in APA or MLA style and produced in Microsoft Word (.DOC/DOCX file format). Proper grammar, punctuation, correct spelling, and other aspects of correct composition should be maintained.

Students will be directed toward specific websites and library resources available on organized crime. The completed Research Paper is worth 270 points.

Research Paper: Topic (Week 2)

In Week 2, you will choose a topic for the Research Paper. The topic may include any organized crime (including criminal street gangs) figure, or group, or a law enforcement investigatory or suppression process used in combating organized crime. Once your topic is chosen, submit it to the appropriate dropbox for instructor feedback by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 2. The Paper Topic is ungraded and worth 0 points.

Research Paper: Outline (Week 4)

In Week 4 you will devise an Outline for your Research Paper. The Research Paper Outline should be composed of three main topics, supported by sub-topics, exclusive of the introduction and conclusion.

Once the Research Paper Outline is complete, submit it to the appropriate dropbox for instructor feedback by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 4. The Research Paper Outline is worth 25 points.

Research Paper: Annotated Bibliography (Week 5)

In Week 5 you will develop an Annotated Bibliography for your Research Paper. The Research Paper Annotated Bibliography should contain at least 6-8 references from books or peer-reviewed journal articles. College textbooks and pop websites such as Wikipedia are not appropriate sources.

Once the Annotated Bibliography is complete, submit it, in proper APA/MLA citation format, to the appropriate dropbox for instructor grading by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 5. The Research Paper Annotated Bibliography is worth 25 points.


There will be Quizzes in Weeks 2-8. Each Quiz is open-book and will include 20 multiple-choice questions. There is a 30-minute time limit for each Quiz.

Quizzes will open at 12:01 am CT Monday and remain open until 11:59 pm CT Sunday (except in Week 8, where they are due by 11:59 pm CT Saturday of the week assigned. Each Quiz is worth 20 points.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

  • Read Chapter 1. In preparation for Quiz 1 (Week 2), browse Chapters 2-4; browse the textbook, including the index.
  • National Crime Justice Referral Service (www.ncjrs.gov): Required for Online Activity.
Discussion 1 (Introductions)

Introduce yourself to your fellow students. Your introduction could include information about your occupation, education, or outside hobbies and interests. Include only the information that you feel comfortable sharing. Then, explain why you are taking this course and what organized crime is, based on your studies of criminal justice, news information, and other sources.

Additionally, tour the college’s website - www.ccis.edu and browse relevant information to the Columbia College Online Education program information, as well as the D2L course environment for CJAD 421: Organized Crime.

Discussion 2

Listen to the NPR podcast "Jury Deadlocked in Gotti Racketeering Case" and view the PowerPoint slides in this week's Instructional Materials lecture and answer the following question:

Are the people/parties discussed in the podcast and PowerPoint presentations similar to or different from your perceptions of organized crime and why?

Online Activity
Visit the National Criminal Justice Referral Service at www.ncjrs.gov/. In a 1-2 page, double-spaced paper, describe how use of the National Criminal Justice Referral Service may be helpful to you throughout this class. Upload the Online Activity paper to the “Online Activity Dropbox.”
Assignment 1

Prepare a written paper in response to the following prompts:

What is organized crime? Provide a definition. In what ways have law enforcement agencies responded to organized crime? Explain the theme of the book and why it is important to our understanding of organized crime. (Provide specific support through online research, including on academic and one governmental reference).

  • Chapters 1-2
Discussion 3
Outline and describe the organizational structure and hierarchy of an organized crime group. What theories help explain a person’s potential attraction to and involvement in organized crime groups?
Discussion 4
What are the basic requirements for membership in an organized crime group? What are the key advantages and disadvantages to being a member?
Assignment 2

Prepare a written paper in response to the following prompts:

Which theory of criminality seems most appropriate to you? Why? Which organized crime hierarchy would most likely be used, based on the theory selected and why? Provide specific support for your argument through online research.

Quiz 1
Quiz 1 will be comprised of 20 multiple-choice questions covering Week 2 readings.
Research Paper: Topic Submission
Submit Research Paper Topic to the appropriate Dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.
  • Chapters 3-4; review Chapter 2
Discussion 5
Explain the environment that led to the emergence of the “political machine.” How and why did the "political machine" contribute to the rise and growth of organized crime?
Discussion 6

How did Prohibition contribute to the emergence and growth of organized crime groups?

Assignment 3

Prepare a written paper in response to the following prompts:

Describe the parallel social philosophy of many of the immigrant groups who migrated to the United States at the turn of the century. How did that philosophy contribute to the development of organized crime? Provide additional specific support through online research as necessary, and provide citations.

Quiz 2
Quiz 2 will be comprised of 20 multiple-choice questions covering Week 3 readings.
  • Chapters 5-6
Discussion 7
Why it is important for organized crime groups to become involved in legitimate businesses? How do organized crime groups use racketeering? In what ways do labor and business racketeering differ?
Discussion 8
What is a vice crime? Why has the business of pornography and prostitution been such a draw for organized crime groups? How have they become involved in and profited from these businesses? What "victimless crimes" are committed by organized crime?
Assignment 4

Prepare a written paper in response to the following prompts:

What are Moore and Kleiman’s six drug control strategies? Explain the strengths and weaknesses/challenges of each. Provide a description of how each can be effective and the challenges of each. Why are all six important to use in efforts to deal with the drug problem?

Quiz 3
Quiz 3 will be comprised of 20 multiple-choice questions covering Week 4 readings.
Research Paper: Outline
Submit Research Paper Outline to the appropriate dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 4.
  • Chapters 7-8
Discussion 9
What are the unique dynamics of domestic organized crime groups in the United States?
Discussion 10
How does the emergence and growth of black organized crime parallel that of outlaw motorcycle gangs?
Assignment 5

Prepare a written paper in response to the following prompts:

What developmental and structural similarities exist between prominent Colombian organized crime groups and emerging Mexican organized crime groups? Do these groups pose a greater threat to the United States than domestic organized crime groups? Defend your reasoning.

Quiz 4
Quiz 4 will be comprised of 20 multiple-choice questions covering Week 5 readings.
Research Paper: Annotated Bibliography
Submit Research Paper Annotated Bibliography to the appropriate dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Sunday of Week 5.
  • Chapter 9
Discussion 11

How should the term “terrorism” be defined and why? How are some types of terrorist activity similar and dissimilar to traditional organized crime?

Discussion 12
In what ways are backgrounds and motivations of Middle Eastern terrorist organizations similar to and different from US domestic terrorist groups?
Assignment 6

Prepare a written paper in response to the following prompts:

What efforts has the US taken in an attempt to control terrorism and the threat of terrorism thus far?

Looking forward, what trends and tactics are emerging in terrorism and what efforts are being made to address them?

Quiz 5
Quiz 5 will be comprised of 20 multiple-choice questions covering Week 6 readings.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
  • Chapter 10
Discussion 13

Discuss the mutual benefits for politicians and organized crime figures, from a relationship or partnership with each other.

Discussion 14
How do organized crime groups and corporations /other legitimate businesses work together and benefit each other?
Assignment 7

Prepare a written paper in response to the following prompts:

Identify and explain connections between organized crime figures/groups and presidents Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan and Clinton. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences in these relationships.

Quiz 6
Quiz 6 will be comprised of 20 multiple-choice questions covering Week 7 readings.
  • Chapter 11
Discussion 15
Based on your review and study of current data and literature, why does organized crime still exist? How could society approach organized crime differently, and what constitutional limitations impact law enforcement efforts at controlling organized crime?
Discussion 16
What are the challenges faced by law enforcement when conducting undercover investigations in organized crime? What risks and challenges do the use of informants to prosecute organized crime figures pose?
Assignment 8

Prepare a written paper in response to the following prompts:

Identify and describe the various roles law enforcement agencies have in fighting organized crime.

What impact have crime commissions had on organized crime? Cite specific examples highlighting both strengths and weaknesses.

Quiz 7
Quiz 7 will be comprised of 20 multiple-choice questions covering Week 8 readings.
Research Paper
Submit Final Research Paper by 11:59 pm CT Thursday of Week 8.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Late assignments receive zero (0) credit. Exceptions to this policy may be granted by the instructor if there is an extreme emergency communicated prior to the due date and time of the assignment.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.