This policy brief, authored by ICCLR Senior Associate Yvon Dandurand with the assistance of ICCLR researcher Raelyn O’Hara, focuses on a small but especially vulnerable type of transportation business that has been prone to infiltration by organized crime groups through violence, intimidation and corruption: the vehicle-towing services industry.

This type of criminal infiltration has been observed in different countries and it involves violent confrontation and competition for a share of the market. As such, this brief provides an opportunity for a comparison between patterns of infiltration and the use of violence by criminal organizations, as well as a review of law enforcement and policy responses.

To read the full policy brief, please visit here: Tow Truck Wars: How organized crime infiltrates the transport industry

Key points:

  • The transportation sector is exceptionally vulnerable to criminal influence. A whole transport business area can be hijacked and exploited by criminal groups for decades without effective countermeasures being deployed to protect it.
  • In many parts of the world, the lucrative towing-services business has been targeted by organized crime and this has led to violent confrontations, sometimes referred to as ‘tow truck wars’.
  • The use of targeted violence and the enforcement of a business cartel is how criminal organizations are exerting control over aspects of the transportation sector, including towing services.
  • The transport industry often occupies a liminal space between the licit and illicit business spheres, which calls for coordinated law and regulatory enforcement at various levels.
  • Effective information exchange between administrative authorities and law enforcement agencies is a prerequisite for a coordinated response to the criminal infiltration of any segment of the transport industry.
  • A proactive and systematic approach to criminal investigation and intelligence gathering is required to mitigate the effects of the criminal exposure of various aspects of the transportation industry.

Photo by YE JUNHAO on Unsplash.

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