Globalization of Organized Crime and Terrorism

Globalization of Organized Crime and Terrorism

The article, Increased Globalization of Organized Crime and Terrorism: Europol and the EU Perspective, by Patrick Byrne, recognizes the emerging challenges for law enforcement due to globalization. Byrne is the senior representative of Europol, the European Police Agency in Washington, D.C. The author’s experience and position allow him to provide valuable insight from a perspective outside that of the United States.

The author notes that local level law enforcement may have to face dangerous situations which are a direct cause of global criminality or terrorism and not connected to any specific local cause (Byrne, 2013). Factors such as Internet, global interaction in trade and services, and travel contribute to an environment where borders begin to dissolve in terms of criminality. As a response to globalization of crime and terrorism, the European Union formed Europol as an effort to effectively coordinate law enforcement and intelligence sharing between different law enforcement agencies within the region and international agencies (Byrne, 2013).

The formation of Europol is similar to the United States’ formation of Department of Homeland Security Fusion centers, which serve a similar purpose and intent. “The United States – with more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies and entities” “has faced up to the challenges of coordinating the federal, state, and local resources with the fusion center concept” (Byrne, 2013, p. 1).

Both European and U.S. based agencies recognize known organized crime groups and terrorist threats within their respective regions, and release assessments addressing these threats. These assessments address “the convergence of illicit actors or networks between transnational organized crime and terrorism that can make accurate intelligence gather, crime prevention, and detection more difficult” (Byrne, 2013, p. 1). The author addresses the problem by questioning how limited resources should be utilized in order to achieve the most effective result. The article details a variety of resources and operational methods that Europol utilizes to respond to emerging threats.

As globalization continues to increase, better organization and coordination between local, national, international, and global entities is needed. Personally, I question the ability of a global effort due to differences in foreign interests, politics, and goals between the worlds many different nation states. However, I can envision an international law enforcement and intelligence sharing partnership between allied countries.