Organized Crime

Are Gangs Once Again America’s #1 Crime Problem?

The last two weeks of newspaper headlines from around the country strongly suggest that gangs are once again America’s number one violent crime problem.

Just 100 miles southeast of Spingola Files HQ, Chicago is in the midst of a summer bloodbath, as street gangs on that city’s south and west sides battle over drug turf. Things are so bad that the mayor of Los Angeles, of all places, has called Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, to offer suggestions.

http://www.dailynews.com/ci_21133364/rick-orlovs-tipoff-chicago-turns-los-angeles-help?source=most_viewed

With Chicago on its way to becoming our nation’s murder capital, smaller cities are also being bit by the gang bug.  In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sean Larkin, a sergeant on the Tulsa PD gang task force, notes that a “no-snitch” culture makes it difficult for investigators to piece together enough evidence to obtain convictions in gang related shootings.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/specialprojects/news/crimewatch/article.aspx?subjectid=450&articleid=20120722_11_A1_CUTLIN342214

When speaking to suburbanites about the lack of cooperation police receive in troubled neighborhoods, those in attendance often look perplexed.  How is it, they ask, that a witness might refuse to offer the police their assistance to rid their neighborhood gang violence? The answer, of course, is that many people lack the resources needed to relocate when those they are set to testify against threaten and intimidate them. To survive in their own neighborhoods, they do not want anyone identifying them as police informants—akin to a death wish in some parts of Milwaukee.

For much of the past decade, Milwaukee County did not have a witness protection program, which meant that potential citizen testifiers in gang infested neighborhoods, more-or-less, were left to fend for themselves.

Moreover, many of those living in high crime areas believe the police unfairly target young, African-American males suspected of participating in the drug trade.  In a certain sense, these individuals see the police as overzealous regulators of the  urban marketplace—similar to the way many legitmate businesses view the DNR or the Environmental Protection Agency.

For those interested in learning more about gang subcultures, pick-up a copy of  The Cozen Protocol—Mitchell Nevin’s Milwaukee-based novel that shows what occurs when gang violence and police corruption meet.  Many former officers believe this book, although a supposed work of fictional, depicts a series of actual crimes that paint an outstanding portrait of how and why street gangs flourish.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Cozen-Protocol-First-ebook/dp/B002NGO456/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343070633&sr=8-1&keywords=cozen+protocol

Most investigators agree that each gang war is unique and that the thug subculture is often times complex. Still, a comprehensive strategy to reduce gang violence through tough enforcement has proved successful in the past.

In Milwaukee, retired Captain Glenn Frankovis used officers deployed as part of directed patrol missions to curtail gang activity in districts Two, Five and Three.  My advice to the Godfather—the moniker for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel—is to disregard the touchy-feely approach used in Los Angeles and, instead, give Frankovis a call. Getting tough on gangs is not rocket science, but it does require that those participating check their politically correct opinions at the door.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

or

www.badgerwordsmith.com/books.html

© Steven Spingola,Wales, WI, 2012


Beating Back the ‘Bush’

To read this article, purchase the Best of the Spingola Files, coming to Amazon.com’s Kindle store in January 2012.

 © Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011


Local News Outlets Should Look to Our Neighbors from the North

With the ranks of reporters and the level of local news coverage at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shrinking, the activities of organized crime outfits in Milwaukee remains dramatically under reported.  One would think that local television assignment editors—witnessing the void in detailed crime related coverage—would seize the opportunity to fill in the gaps left by declining newspaper revenues. Instead, local newscasts bombard viewers of southeastern Wisconsin with over-the-top weather coverage and investigations pertaining to restaurant cleanliness.

“The only way for a violent gang war to get noticed in the Milwaukee news media,” a retired police supervisor wrote, tongue-in-cheek, in a recent e-mail, “is to have the gangs’ members host a barbeque with dirty utensils.”

If television news in the Milwaukee area is interested in getting it right, they should take a few tips from the Canadian Broadcast Corporation. 

Plagued by a rash of recent bad news, Vancouver, British Columbia, is now in the midst of a violent gang war.  The leader of the Red Scorpions street gang, 30-year-old Jonathan Bacon, was gunned-down Sunday while riding in an SUV with a member of the Hells Angels. The shots were fired from outside the SUV and investigators still are unsure whom, specifically, the intended target was.

To get an idea of what solid, local television news looks like, please visit the below link and watch the video.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/08/15/bc-bacon-killing-retaliation-fears.html

Unfortunately, hard hitting local television news is tough to come by these days, as ratings books seem to validate what is newsworthy and what is not.  As difficult as it is to believe, some viewers remain glued to their television sets as reporters stand in the white death that falls from the sky each winter.

While it is comforting to know that the residents of Vancouver are getting the low-down on what is actually transpiring in their community, residents of the metro Milwaukee area are updated with only a paragraph or two about a handful of nightly shootings in the newspaper. 

Editors: besides the WHERE, it might also be helpful to further inform readers about the who, what, when, why, and how.  Readers understand that news budgets are tight, but Journalism 101 mandates sufficient answers to the remaining five questions. 

Follow-up: another detailed story pertaining to this gang related shooting. 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/08/17/bc-kelowna-shooting-quadriplegic.html

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

To learn more, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/books.html

© Steve Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011


Organized Crime Flick Provides Insight into Thug Life

One of SF’s popular blog posts is Max & the Mob, the story of Max Adonnis and his involvement with organized crime in Milwaukee.

http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/spingolafiles/2010/04/24/max-the-mob/

For those of you interested in the workings of organized crime, the movie Kill the Irishman is a must see.  The DVD was released in mid-June.

 http://www.amazon.com/Kill-Irishman-Ray-Stevenson/dp/B004UVYQYQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1310831375&sr=8-2

I purchased the book, by the same name, after its release in 2004. The author, Rick Porrello, is a retired Cleveland PD detective.  Porrello began his law enforcement career when he was just 18-years-old.  In his early 30s, he made detective and was soon assigned to the Special Investigations Unit, where he kept tabs on that city’s mob scene. 

Portello grew-up in the same blue collar neighborhood as Danny Greene, an Irish ruffian who hardened his fists warding-off a group of tough Sicilian kids.  After working as a laborer on the Cleveland docks, Greene stepped into the organized crime scene by taking over the longshoreman’s union, where he hatched a  two-bit larceny ring, which included both Irish union associates and members of Cleveland’s Italian crime family. These crews looted cargo trailers while leaving a trail of enemies that eventually ratted Greene out.  While in custody, Greene maintained the code of silence. Once he was released, he became a smarter criminal and soon found work with a Jewish gangster’s loan sharking operation.

But, like most organized crime figures, the list of Greene’s enemies grew.  He soon found himself in hot water with the godfather of Cleveland’s Jewish mob—a man Greene later killed.

Greene’s rise within Cleveland’s organized crime hierarchy later caused him to run afoul with a La Cosa Nostra crime family.  The battle for Cleveland was on, as bombs exploded and bodies were scraped from the pavement. The movie features some actual footage of crime scenes; however, the message is simple: very few of those living the thug life reach the retirement age untouched by perdition or the law.

SF gives Kill the Irishman five stars. The movie brought back memories of Augie  Palmisano, the Milwaukee organized crime figure allegedly killed by a member of the Chicago mob on June 30, 1978.  

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.  

If your organization is on the lookout for a fascinating guest speaker, please consider Steve Spingola’s Psychology of Homicide Presentation.  To learn more, visit: 

http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steve Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011


Max & the Mob

To read this article, purchase The Best of the Spingola Files, coming to Amazon.com’s Kindle store in January 2012.

Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department Homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

Copyright, Steven Spingola, Wales, WI 2010


Black and White Cloud of Retaliation: Part IV

To read this article, purchase The Best of the Spingola Files, coming to Amazon.com’s Kindle store in January 2012.

Steven Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

Copyright, Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010


Black and White Cloud of Retaliation: Part III

To read this article, purchase The Best of the Spingola Files, coming to Amazon.com’s Kindle store in January 2012.

Steven Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

Copyright, Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010


Black and White Cloud of Retaliation: Part II

To read this article, purchase The Best of the Spingola Files, coming to Amazon.com’s Kindle store in January 2012.

Steven Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

Copyright, Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010


Black and White Cloud of Retaliation: Part I

To read this article, purchase The Best of the Spingola Files, coming to Amazon.com’s Kindle store in January 2012.

Steven Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

Copyright, Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010


Wise Men Let Dead Wise Guys Lie

To read this article, purchase The Best of the Spingola Files, coming to Amazon.com’s Kindle store in January 2012.

Steven Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicde detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

Copyright, Steven Spingola, Wales, WI 2010