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

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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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.