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									Organized Crime Task Force
Background Organized crime poses a serious long-term threat to Canada’s institutions, society, economy, and to our quality of life. The vast majority of organized crime groups use or exploit the legitimate economy to some degree by insulating their activities, laundering proceeds of crime and committing financial crimes via a legitimate front. Organized crime groups exploit opportunities around the country and create a sophisticated transnational network to facilitate criminal activities and challenge law enforcement efforts. Domestic policing efforts across Canada increasingly require the development of strategies and programs that address the international components of organized crime. Currently, the RCMP and local law enforcement are focused on reducing the threat and impact of organized crime. In countering the growth of organized crime groups and dismantling their structures and sub-groups, a critical component is the improved coordination, sharing and use of criminal intelligence and resources. This sharing of information and resources are used in support of integrated policing, law enforcement plans and strategies, as well as creating incentives designed to communicate the impact and scope of organized crime. Nature of Problem Organized crime now plays a significantly greater role in the Canadian economy than it did a generation ago. Organized crime involves both well-known and lesser-known groups, as well as white collar criminal activity, gang activity and both domestic and foreign participants. Recently, there has been significant innovation within the realm of organized crime, especially within the drug economy. This has resulted in a vibrant and expanding underground economy. Through its corrosive socio-economic effects and violent attempts at self-regulation, organized crime is of concern in both a tactical and strategic sense. This concern is linked to organized crime and the drug trade, in the range of secondary activities associated to organized crime, and the indirect, damaging effects of a criminal economy. The threat and impact of organized crime have been detailed in information gathered on behalf of the RCMP, Provincial and Federal governments and non-governmental agencies. A review of the relevant data confirms the following: a) In 2007, the Canadian criminal intelligence community identified approximately 950 organized crime groups that were found to operate in communities throughout Canada. b) Over 300 street gangs have been identified as carrying on operations in Canada, with an estimated 11,000 gang members and associates. c) Many groups are involved in a variety of criminal activities. For example, there are approximately 108 various organized crime groups currently known to be involved in the illicit tobacco trade; 69% are also involved in drug trafficking, mainly in marijuana and cocaine, and/or weapons trafficking. d) The most significant categories of organized crime in Canada are outlaw motorcycle gangs, Asian-based organized crime, independent organized crime, Indo-Canadian organized crime and Eastern European organized crime. Organized crime groups are now exporting its scope of operations throughout Canada and to other countries e) For example, in British Columbia, approximately 20% of organized crime is based outside the Lower Mainland. Furthermore, criminal revenues now comprise a

significant component of the provincial economy and 72% of the known organized crime groups cannot be addressed under current police capacity, and will operate free of significant law enforcement attention. The statistics for Canada and globally identifying the effect of organized crime are as follows: a) The statistical information available suggests current annual global revenues from illicit criminal activities include: i) $100-300 billion from drug trafficking ii) $10-12 billion in toxic and other hazardous waste dumping iii) $9 billion from automobile theft in the United States and Europe iv) $7 billion from human smuggling v) Global trade and pirated goods are estimated at $450 billion US vi) $40-50 billion annually due to the illicit tobacco trade b) The international monetary fund has estimated that between $22 - 55 billion dollars are laundered annually in Canada. c) Drug trafficking continues to be the principle source of revenue for most organized crime groups. The illicit drug market in Canada is worth in excess of $10 billion annually. In 2007, approximately 80% of all crime groups in Canada were involved in the illicit drug market. It is suspected that some of the profit derived from drug sales finds its way into funding terrorists and other insurgent groups who are involved directly/indirectly in the drug trade. d) Marijuana cultivation is the most pervasive and lucrative organized crime activity, and leads to significant spin-off criminal activity, including violent crime and money laundering. e) Methamphetamine production and trafficking is expanding at a rate similar to the early growth of the marijuana industry. f) Credit card fraud led to losses of $200 million in Canada in 2005 and debit card losses amounted to $70 million.

g) Motor vehicle thefts cost Canadians an estimated $1 billion annually, and approximately 30% of the 170,000 motor vehicles that are stolen every year in Canada are never recovered. h) Globally, profits from child pornography are estimated at $24 billion annually. Cybertip.ca (the on-line tip-line for the reporting of potential internet sexual abuse) has received a total of 9,145 public reports. These tips have resulted in 17 arrests, 972 websites being shut down and 700 ongoing investigations. i) j) In 2006, Phonebusters reported 23,317 victims of scams, with an overall value of loss reported at $96 million. In 2006, there were 7,778 reported cases of identity theft, with an overall value of loss reported at $16 million.

Insurers, businesses and consumers pay for the activities associated with organized crime. The cost of crime is passed from insurance firms to businesses and then on to the consumers, who also pay higher premiums for personal insurance. The more crime

there is, the more it costs taxpayers for law enforcement, justice and correctional services. Organized crime has no boundaries and can occur in large, small or medium sized communities. Criminal activities occur throughout the country in suburban neighbourhoods and rural communities through the internet, in local schools or through the sale of counterfeit goods and breach of intellectual property laws. Strategic Approach to Reducing Organized Crime With the expansion of organized crime throughout Canada, and the necessity to reduce its growth, there must be plans and priorities established to guide our law enforcement efforts towards reducing the threat and impact of organized crime in Canada. Strategic studies undertaken confirm that certain regions throughout Canada are more susceptible to the establishment of organized crime operations, and the necessity for integrated task forces to combat this problem must be identified and utilized immediately. A coordinated law enforcement effort must be undertaken that provides for a regionalized approach to combating organized crime utilizing the services of the RCMP, municipal and provincial police forces and other agencies in a coordinated effort. The necessity to address and combat the organized crime issue can only be dealt with through ensuring that there are sufficient financial resources available to establish organized crime task forces in regions throughout Canada. The financial investment by the Federal and Provincial governments in manpower and resources to combat organized crime is essential. With the expansion of organized crime throughout Canada, certain high risk regions are more susceptible than others to the establishment of organized crime operations. The ability of the RCMP and local law enforcement to address crime before it grows exponentially is a genuine concern. Recommendations That the federal government: 1. Establish organized crime task forces in key identified high-risk regions throughout Canada to combat the growth of organized crime. 2. Work jointly with provincial\territorial governments to provide funding for the establishment of the needed task forces. 3. Ensure that organized crime task forces work together with all levels of law enforcement on a regional, provincial\territorial, federal and international level to combat the problem of organized crime


								
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