The Federal Government and Organized Crime

August 10, 1934

Report Outline
New Federal Effort for Suppression on Crime
Anti-Crime Activities of the Federal Government
Moley Report on Changes in Federal Crime Laws
Anti-Crime Statutes of the 73rd Congress
Life and Property Loss Through Crime
Special Focus

New Federal Effort for Suppression on Crime

Passage at the last session of Congress of a series of measures increasing the categories of federal crimes and closing legal loopholes opened a new era in the relations between the federal government and the states with respect to law enforcement. The resort by criminals to speedy methods of transportation and communication has made it increasingly difficult for local and state police officials, with limited territorial jurisdiction, to cope with the crime problem. The federal government, following its successful prosecution of kidnapers under the so-called Lindbergh law, found public opinion favorable to an extension of its jurisdiction to other classes of crimes with which state and local officials seemed powerless to deal.

The tendency toward centralization which has affected so many other departments of national life under the Roosevelt administration is thus making itself apparent, though only to a limited degree, in the field of law enforcement. This represents a complete reversal of the trend apparent-several years ago, when the unpopularity of prohibition and the inability of the federal government to suppress the liquor traffic led to an almost unanimous belief that the problem of crime was best reserved to local and state authorities. The 1931 report of the Wicker sham Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, while pointing out the difficulties inherent in efforts to deal with crime on a local basis, recommended nicely a greater centralization of authority in state officials and agencies is now being argued on similar grounds that state efforts are likewise bound to be inadequate, and that federal assistance is needed for the control of many forms of crime.

The need for support from tin informed public opinion if federal and state efforts to suppress and prevent crime arc to succeed was emphasized by Attorney General Cummings in a radio address of May 12, 1934.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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May 14, 2004  Gang Crisis
Mar. 27, 1992  Mafia Crackdown
Oct. 11, 1991  Youth Gangs
Mar. 17, 1989  Racketeering Law Comes Under Attack
Jun. 19, 1981  Organized Crime: The American Shakedown
Mar. 11, 1970  Drive on Organized Crime
Jan. 18, 1961  Interstate Crime Syndicates
Mar. 04, 1953  Criminality in Labor Unions
Mar. 17, 1950  Suppression of Crime Syndicates
Aug. 10, 1934  The Federal Government and Organized Crime
Oct. 20, 1931  Mob Disturbances in the United States
Crime and Law Enforcement
Organized Crime