1st Edition

An Ontology of Organized Crime A Meta-Analytical Framework and Enforcement Implications

By Stephen Schneider Copyright 2025
    224 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    224 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    One of the most elusive pursuits in the study of organized crime is developing a definition, description, or conceptual model that captures its complexity, diversity, and ever-changing nature. This book takes a comprehensive approach to unraveling the intricacies and variations of organized crime, providing a detailed account of its many attributes.

    Based on a review of the theoretical literature, the author has created a holistic typology essential to understanding organized crime. The typology comprises 28 attributes divided into five thematic categories: associational (the relationship among the offenders that leads to some discernible structure), commercial (revenue-generating crimes), operational (support functions and expenditures), institutional (factors that sustain a criminal association and activities over time), and cultural/behavioral (the norms, values, and codes of organized crime and how it affects the actions of offenders). These categories are not simply used to classify the different attributes; each one represents a structural pillar of an organized criminal association. As a meta-analytical framework, the typology is the first to incorporate the foremost ways in which organized crime has been conceptualized in the literature: as an association of offenders, the crimes perpetrated, how organized crimes are carried out, and as a form of underworld governance. The book also adapts the static typology into a flexible and testable conceptual model that recognizes the many variations among organized criminal associations, and which can be used to determine when a group of offenders constitutes organized crime. Besides its theoretical and empirical purposes, the typology and conceptual model have been constructed as applied frameworks for informing strategic enforcement (setting priorities), tactical enforcement (targeting and denigrating the structural pillars of an organized criminal association), and policy purposes (as a basis for a comprehensive multi-sectoral control plan).

    This book is invaluable for students and scholars studying organized crime as well as criminal justice professionals looking for guidance on enforcement strategies and public policies.


    Chapter 1. Typology overview, research methods, and analytical framework

    Chapter 2. Literature review: Definitions, descriptions, typologies, and conceptual models

    Chapter 3. Associational attributes

    Chapter 4. Commercial attributes

    Chapter 5. Operational attributes

    Chapter 6. Institutional attributes

    Chapter 7. Cultural/Behavioral attributes

    Chapter 8. Adapting the typology for organized crime enforcement

    Chapter 9. Redevelopment of the typology as a conceptual model for research and applied purposes





    Stephen Schneider is a professor of criminology at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Canada. He is considered Canada’s foremost scholar on organized crime. In this context, he has worked as a researcher, writer, educator, criminal intelligence analyst, government policy specialist, and consultant. He is the author or co-author of five books, three of which are concerned with organized crime. This includes a textbook entitled Canadian Organized Crime (Canadian Scholars Press, Second Edition, 2022). He is also the author of the highly acclaimed, best-selling true crime book Iced: The Story of Organized Crime in Canada (HarperCollins, Second Edition, 2016). He has authored articles for peer-reviewed publications and conferences and research reports for government agencies. His research and consulting projects have included studies into money laundering, contraband smuggling, fraud, domestic marijuana production, organized criminal conspiracies at marine ports, human trafficking, organized robberies, corporate crime, and innovations in organized crime enforcement. He has also provided expert testimony in court cases for federal and provincial attorneys general in Canada.