Organized crime refers to a network of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals in an organized manner and who are engaged in illegal activities. Such criminal organizations are well organized with a clear chain of command and segregation of duties among its members in a much similar way to a lawful organization or government. The only distinction between organized crime organizations and other lawful organizations is that they are engaged in illegal activities. It is organized crime organizations that are usually responsible for transnational crimes. Transnational crimes denote crimes that have significant effects in more than one country. This is because such transnational crimes involve borders crossing. Examples of crimes of a transnational nature and which are perpetrated by organized crime groups include drug trafficking, terrorism, cybercrime, money laundering and smuggling of weapons and people. Several countries have acted to counter these transnational crimes through collaboration, sharing of information and extradition of suspected criminals to their respective countries for prosecution. This paper shall examine two particular types of organized crimes that are of a transnational nature, namely Excise fraud and VAT fraud, and explore the impact of these crimes on victims as well as the general society. Next, the paper shall look into the impact of advances in technology and computerization on crime and the differences between the three levels of crime prevention. In conclusion, the paper shall consider the area that has the greatest need for crime prevention policy to avert crime (Hopkins, Tilley, & Gibson, 2012).
It may sometimes be the case that perpetrators of transnational crime may never leave their resident country. However, crimes that these criminals perpetrate may have a direct impact on other nations and particular victims of such crimes. A case in point is cybercrime where criminals use the internet to perpetrate crime. Usually, the internet has no boundaries and anyone who is a consumer of the internet may fall victim to fraud.
Excise fraud involves the smuggling of goods into a nation so as to evade the excise tax levied on imports and exports. Organized criminals are involved in this crime that is of a transnational nature as they have the requisite capacity and networks to achieve the same. A major way in which excise fraud has been perpetrated in the United Kingdom has been through the smuggling of tobacco and cigarettes into the country. The HM Revenue and Customs which has the primary role of checking on smuggling of goods estimated that between 1-2.3 billion pounds in revenue were lost due to smuggling of cigarettes. It is reported that out of five cigarettes that are smoked in the UK, one of them is smuggled. Tobacco smuggling in the UK is a transnational crime, as it transcends the nation and is practiced by well organized groups. Most of the smuggled tobacco into the UK comes from several countries such as China, the Baltic States, the Balkans and Africa. It is also emerging that Belgium has come out as a primary source of illicit cigarettes in addition to traditional sources such as China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore (Hopkins, Tilley, & Gibson, 2012). Regional airports have been used as conduits for the smuggling of goods by tourists and other organized criminals. This has been made possible by relatively cheap flights. Once goods reach their destination, the goods are diverted into the illicit market without payment of the requisite excise duty. The tracks left by this illegal act are covered by use of forged documents. Other smuggled goods include fuel and alcohol. The impact of excise fraud on the economy as evidenced in this discourse is the loss of revenue that would otherwise be used for developmental purposes in the society (Ridley, 2008).
Value Added Tax fraud is aimed at evading paying the tax. This fraud is divided into three categories such as registered evader fraud, thief fraud and unregistered evader fraud. In the first type of fraud, registered VAT traders fail to declare the correct returns or liability so as to suppress the amount of tax to be paid. Organized criminals find this type of fraud luring owing to the huge profits present as well as the comparatively low penalties charged to defaulters. However, organized crime features more prominently in thief fraud where criminals set up bogus company registrations with the aim of stealing Value Added Tax. One of the types of thief fraud is repayment fraud where VAT is recovered on purely fictitious transactions made possible by bogus companies. Advances in technology have facilitated the creation of apparently authentic invoices to support the fraudulent transactions. The other type of thief fraud is known as missing trader intra-community fraud. This systematic criminal attack consists of obtaining a VAT registration to purchase goods from a VAT-free source elsewhere in Europe, selling the goods at a price inclusive of VAT and then going missing without paying over the VAT. The upshot of this is a loss to the Treasury and at other times a further loss when refunds are made to the bogus traders. This type of fraud is also known as acquisition fraud and is common in items of high and fast turnovers which are moved in high volumes, such as confectionaries. According to estimates by HM Revenue and Customs, this type of fraud which is high up in the organization’s priority, cost the Exchequer between 1.7 to 2.75 billion pounds in the year 2009. VAT fraud had a heavy impact on the society as it deprives the society of the necessary income in terms of taxation, which would be used in the creation of amenities and other developmental projects. As such, individual indirect victims of VAT fraud, suffer economically (Hobbs, 2013).