Organised crime can be defined as serious crime planned, coordinated and conducted by people working together on a continuing basis. Their motivation is often, but not always, financial gain. Organised criminals working together for a particular criminal activity or activities are called an organised crime group.
Organised crime group structures vary. Successful organised crime groups often consist of a durable core of key individuals. Around them is a cluster of subordinates, specialists, and other more transient members, plus an extended network of associates.
Many groups are often loose networks of criminals that come together for a specific criminal activity, acting in different roles depending on their skills and expertise. Collaboration is reinforced by shared experiences (such as prison), or recommendation from trusted individuals. Others are bonded by family or ethnic ties – some ‘crime families’ are precisely that.