Street Gangs, Organized Crime Groups, and Terrorists: Differentiating Criminal Organizations

Carter F. Smith, Jeff Rush, Catherine E. Burton


Individually street gangs, organized crime (OC) groups, and terrorists all present serious problems for national and international law enforcement agencies.  Imagine though if these three were connected or linked in substantive ways. Whether we want to accept this or not, the lines between these structures are often blurred and ill-defined.  Each of these groups often takes on the characteristics of the other group, if not in motive then in technique.  Additionally, these groups sometimes form alliances with one another further complicating law enforcement efforts to combat their criminal activity.   Distinguishing these groups from one another, as well as outlining areas in which they overlap will help direct law enforcement toward a more successful pursuit of these groups.  


Gangs; Organized Crime; Terrorism; Law Enforcement

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ISSN 1942-7794