Measuring the Impact of Law Enforcement on Organized Crime


February 22, 2008


Dr. Allan Castle




Access to Justice / Justice Efficiency

Measuring the Impact of Law Enforcement on Organized Crime

This article explores the possibility of measuring the impact of law enforcement on organized crime in a reliable and accountable manner, both in general terms and with a practical focus on the Canadian context. In considering measures to combat organized crime, a focus on process measurement has obscured the more substantial question of progress as regards the dependent variable itself: the bottom line of reducing the impact of organized criminal behaviour. While outcome measures are more challenging to identify than process measures, this fact alone does not minimize the need to demonstrate the connection between organized crime enforcement and its presumed outcomes to a greater degree of certainty. To date, this has not been realized to any significant degree, as revealed by a review of existing international approaches to measuring the impact of enforcement activity. The article argues that a multidisciplinary focus on community level indicators of crime, if initially less accessible than process measures of impact on organized crime groups, offers promise as a measurement of absolute and relative impact of state investment in enforcement.


Dr. Allan Castle

Senior Associate