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The 1920’s was an unprecedented decade for crime and criminal organizations. With the Great Depression soon to hit and many out of jobs already during this time period, Prohibition and the heroism that notorious gangsters were getting made organized crime an attractive option for those needing money. The government believed that with prohibition, less crime would occur. The United States Government was so wrong in their thinking. “Alcohol was seen as the devil’s advocate and banning the substance would help improve the quality of American lives. It caused an explosive growth in crime with more than double the amount of illegal bars and saloons operating than before prohibition” (Nash, n.d.).
With the Great Depression looming and all alcohol factories and establishments shut down, unemployment was rising. The unemployed, usually uneducated workers needed jobs. Turning to organized crime was the way they could make a quick and easy buck. For those that made an honest living, that was quickly taken away from them and with the lack of industries hiring, turning to mob’s and criminal organizations were there answer. They would be involved with tasks such as making the alcohol, distributing the alcohol both to individuals and illegal saloons, ship the alcohol to various cities near and far and ultimately attempt to keep the law out of their business.
Prohibition also led to organized crime expanding their crimes. Making and distributing alcohol was illegal at the time but they had to commit further acts of criminal activity to ensure their operations would stay live. They started to bribe police officers and other high ranking officials with money to keep their illegal operations running. Those that would not accept the bribes offer by organized crimes were taken care of, usually murdered in order for someone else to take control who could be bribed. The mob’s used violence to strike fear in those that were looking to shut down their operations. For the most part it worked. So many officers and high ranking officials would take the bribes and turn the other way so they could keep their life.
It took a while for the United States Government to finally reinstitute the sale and distribution of alcohol, which ended up solving a lot of the problems. While the government had allowed for establishments to legally sell alcohol again, that aspect of organized crime was finished but the damage of Prohibition had already been done. Organized crime mob’s had been established across the United States due the Prohibition. While they were no longer in the business of illegally distributing alcohol, they would start distributing other illegal items along with carrying out the murders of high ranking officials that were continuing to go after the mob’s across the United States. Many mobs moved into the distribution of illegal drugs and that can still be seen today with the various gangs that make a profit selling illegal drugs.
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