Who Owns the Right to Rule Montreal's Streets?

Nick Jr.'s Casket

Nicolo's Casket

In the last few weeks a book on the Montreal Mafia came out, Mafia Inc., revealing more than 35 years of research on the subject. The timing is right with the recent speculations on the street gangs' role in the downfall of Montreal Mafia since the arrests, kidnappings, and murders of important mafia figures. As crime is inevitable, someone should manage it and ensure a structure. Between the two fighting parties, Mafia and street gangs, the Mafia is the most suited to rule the streets of Montreal. I will explain my opinion, but first this piece does not excuse criminal activities or encourage them. What follows is an argument of the best outcome considering the actual situation.

The Utopian Idea of a World Without Crime

Only in a Utopian world we could dream of a city without crime. It has always existed and it will go on. Drugs are not imposed on people; people ask for them. Whether their consumption is mild or heavy, a part of the population will demand it. Therefore crime will always exist. It's the same thing for prostitution, gambling or whatever other illegal activities performed by organized crime. Good or bad, they exist because they serve certain people's needs. Many police operations have tried to suppress it arresting important leaders, but since then the crime scene has worsened.

Rizzuto's Wise Words

crime-scene.jpgIronically these were the predictions of Rizzuto when he was arrested. He "asserted [...] that he was the only person able to maintain a relative peace among the diverse criminal organizations in Montreal, as if he wanted to convince [people] they were making a serious error in extraditing him to the United States" (Paul Cherry). Since Rizzuto's extradition, Montreal has been the witness of many visible crimes, and it only seems to get worse.

Rizzuto also warned the police to keep an eye on the street gangs. "He seemed to sense his organization would spiral out of control in his absence after a 30 year reign at the top levels of the city's underworld" (Paul Cherry).

An Overview of Street Gangs

Street gangs are dangerous. They recruit young members in search of belonging and security. The main aspect of street gangs is violence; for mafia it's the last resort. They promote violence among young people while Mafia is the adult playground. Mafia is an organization of adults, not adolescents trying to prove themselves through useless violence. Yes, the main street gangs of Montreal have grown into adults, but the last years have shown that they operate with the same immature ways. You might argue that the Mafia uses violent means to achieve as well. It is true. However, street gangs function very differently from how mafia operates. Marcel Danis, a former lawyer for some biker gangs members and now a Concordia teacher says the Montreal street gangs have " no discipline, no organization, they're very dangerous and they're impulsive" (CTV news. You tube). There lays the major difference. We're talking about a clan that is not wise that has not learned from the many years of experience that Mafia has.


Ducarme Joseph- Street Gang Leader

People are much more afraid of street gangs than the Mafia for a reason. They're much more visible. On the other side, there seems to be an established distance between civilians and the Mafia. The organized crime is discreet and knows how visibility would threaten their organization. They dress as regular civilians and businessmen.

Organized Crime

Mafia is referred to by the name of organized crime. It implies a structured and organized formation; a clan that operates under rules and structure. Mafia is a group of businessmen looking to increase their profit with the help of illegal activities. Organized crime has existed and flourished for nearly two centuries. They have developed and learned from their mistakes. They have hence more experience under their belt. Mafia works more effectively than most other clans because it has a set of rules. They have been affiliated with politicians and have invested money in different legal activities. This shows that their first goal is to make money and not cause troubles. They will kill among themselves when problems need to be "resolved." Mafia seeks peace, as seen when Vito Rizzuto reconstructed Montreal's crime scene. Rizzuto has been referred to as a diplomatic businessman. When he was at the top of his game, he redesigned Montreal's crime structure and established alliances among other clans to provide a peaceful city.

A Potential Solution

Even though the two clans perpetrate illegal activities, there still should be one to dominate the streets. Mafia is certainly best suited for that job, with their experience, structure and modes of operation. I'm not trying to establish that Mafia is good and street gangs are bad. They are both bad, but one does function much better than the other one. I believe in working out a solution that would involve collaboration between Montreal's police and Vito Rizzuto, which has proven to be the most effective in maintaining peace in Montreal. Rizzuto could still act as the Montreal boss but under the police established restrictions.


Cherry, Paul. "Book reveals heart of local Mafia". Montreal Gazette. montrealgazette.com. Web. Nov. 3 2010.

Contenta, Sandro. "The daylight a Montreal mafia figure has worsened fears of an organized gang war."globalpost.com.
The Global Post. Web. 25 Oct. 2010

De Champlain, Pierre. "The Mafia of Montreal: A short History." gangstersinc.tripod.com. n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2010

Harrold, Max. and Mennie, James. "Nick Rizzuto Jr. gunned down in N.D.G." canada.com/news. The Gazette. Web. 26
Oct. 2010

Lemieszewski, Stefan. "Mafia similarities and links between the east and the west." telusplanet.net. n.d. Web 26 Oct.

Little Joe Shots. "Montreal Crime Family: part 1 to 10." mafia-international.com, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2010

Terry, Ashley. "The Rizzuto Family." globalnews.ca. Global News. 26 Oct. 2010

"Mtl Street Gangs vs. The Mafia." grind365.com. n.d. 27 Oct. 2010

"67's Crips vs Italian Mafia in Montreal Turf War." CTV News. Youtube, 2010. Web.

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