Title

Organised crime and public sector corruption: a crime scripts analysis of tactical displacement risks

Publication Date

2013

Abstract

Organised crime in Australia has received increased attention over the last decade, with the enactment of legislation and the development of other interventions that have sought to control this serious criminal phenomenon. Although the success of such interventions in reducing organised crime is yet to be subject to detailed evaluation, prior research has identified certain risks associated with policy responses that could, arguably, also lead to counterproductive consequences (Guerette & Bowers 2009; Smith, Wolanin & Worthington 2003). One consequence of enhanced legislation and/or law enforcement approaches developed to combat organised crime is so-called ‘tactical crime displacement’, namely that criminals may modify their tactics in order to circumvent the effects of new legislation or increased law enforcement activity, thus allowing them to continue to offend with a reduced risk of detection or criminal justice action taking place. One particular risk of tactical crime displacement is the potential for organised crime groups to focus more on forming corrupt relationships with public officials in order to obtain information that minimises the risk of detection and prosecution.

This paper illustrates how organised criminal groups can alter their patterns of offending by inducing public officials into corruptly disclosing information relevant to the facilitation of further criminal activity. This process of corruption is explained using the notion of ‘crime scripts’, as developed by Cornish (1994), and applied in the context of organised crime. Following an analysis of the crime scripts used by organised criminals in relation to the corruption of public servants in selected cases in Australia, various situational crime prevention solutions based on Ekblom’s (2011) 5Is approach to crime prevention are explored as potential ways in which to minimise risks of this nature.

School/Institute

Institute of Child Protection Studies

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access