What are the advantages and disadvantages of membership in an organized crime group?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While it might not seem like there would be advantages to being a member of an organized crime group, there can be advantages for some people.  There are, of course, many disadvantages.

One advantage to joining an organized crime group is the economic potential.  A person who joins a gang might be able to make a lot more money than a person with the same level of education who works a legitimate job.  Things like dealing drugs or stealing and selling things can (at some levels) be very lucrative.  This can be very beneficial to an uneducated person from a poor neighborhood. 

Another advantage is more personal.  Belonging to a gang can make a person feel better about themselves.  It can give them a sense that they are accepted and important in a group that has some status in their world.

One major disadvantage to joining a gang is the possibility of being put in prison.  Whenever you make crime your life, you are liable to get in trouble with the law.  This can lead to major disruptions of your life if you are arrested, tried, and sent to prison.

A second major disadvantage is the likelihood of becoming a victim of violence.  A person working a regular job is not likely to encounter much violence in their life.  By contrast, a gang or mafia member is much more likely to end up getting hurt or killed whether by a rival gang or in the process of some sort of crime.

Thus, there are both benefits and drawbacks to getting involved in organized crime.

mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While there are many disadvantages of being involved with an organized crime group, there can be a few advantages. One advantage is that a person may be accepted as part of a group. While the activities are dangerous, people have a need to feel support, companionship, and friendship. Being part of a group helps satisfy these needs. A person could also make a decent amount of money by being part of an organized crime group.

However, there are many disadvantages. Since organized crime groups are involved in illegal activities, there is a risk of going to jail. While a person might make a lot of money, it won’t help them if the person has to spend much or all of his or her life in jail. Sometimes, the money made by illegal methods can be taken away from a person. There also is the risk of being killed. Organized crime activities often involve violence. Rival groups may try to kill members of other groups. Since the activities of organized crime groups are illegal, there is a possibility that a person might be killed when participating in these activities. Finally, a person may have a very negative legacy if they are involved with an organized crime group, especially if they are convicted of illegal activities.

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