rusq: Vol. 52 Issue 3: p. 266
Sources: Encyclopedia of Transnational Crime and Justice
Todd J. Wiebe

Head of Research and Instruction, Van Wylen Library, Hope College, Holland, Michigan

In the introduction to this single-volume reference work, editor Margaret E. Beare (York University, Toronto) quotes the 2010 report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, The Globalization of Crime, which states, “Organized crime has diversified, gone global and reached macro-economic proportions” (xix). While acknowledging that not all “transnational crime” is technically “organized crime,” this quote does get at the essence of what this book aims to cover, that is, crimes that involve “border crossings as an integral part of the criminal activity,” or “crimes that take place in one country with consequences that significantly affect other countries” (xix).

The 183 headwords are listed first alphabetically and then again in a thematic reader’s guide where they are grouped together under broad headings such as “Crimes and Criminal Markets,” “Geography of Transnational Crimes,” “Policing and Intelligence Organizations,” and “Terrorism.” This is followed by a chronology highlighting pertinent events spanning from the 1856 Declaration of Paris to the viral Internet short film, Kony 2012.

Most entries are quite substantial, spanning several pages, and many are broken down into sub-sections. For example, the four-page entry “Cocaine” is divided into “History, Uses, and Effects,” “Size and Scope of the International Cocaine Trade,” “Policing the International Cocaine Trade,” and “Human Rights Issues in Policing the International Cocaine Trade.” All entries are cross-referenced, signed with author names and affiliations, and include suggestions for further readings. Back matter includes a short glossary, a resource guide (listing books, journals, and Internet sources), and an appendix providing editorial commentary on five of the most relevant websites. These types of reference books often include a selection of primary sources, often in the back matter, but sometimes embedded in the entries themselves; unfortunately this is not the case here.

For the most part, this book looks at the broad scope of topics and issues pertaining to transnational crime around the world. Beare explains, “We have tried to cover the essential issues that are priority topics in the widest number of regions in the globe” (xxi). Headwords do not include names of individual people or specific events, but rather types of crime, how and where they take place, and the organizations/groups committing or policing them. For a slightly more granular reference on topics akin to what you would find in this book, one might look to The Encyclopedia of International Organized Crime (Facts on File, 2005), which according to WorldCat, is the only other item catalogued with the LCSH “Transnational Crime—Encyclopedias.”

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