The New York mafia has seen its power and influence continue to dwindle over the years due in large part to increased law enforcement efforts.
The five families of Cosa Nostra in New York have shown a remarkable level of resilience and an uncanny ability to adapt over the years. Although the American mafia has taken plenty of hits and diminished in power from its heyday the reports of its demise over the years have never proven to be accurate. The New York mob was once a prime target of the FBI, although that began to change around 2013 when anti-terrorism became the main objective with more federal resources being devoted to that battle.
At one point there was an FBI squad dedicated to each and every one of the five families of the NY mafia. But with more resources needed to fight terrorism and budget cuts over the years, these squads had to be condensed along with a cutback in overall agents investigating organized crime. Now only two FBI squads remain one code-named C-5 which is responsible for the Colombo, Bonanno, and Genovese families and C-16 responsible for the Gambino and Lucchese families. There were even cutbacks made at local levels of the NYPD in the number of detectives assigned to organized crime cases. This cutback in resources has given the mafia in New York a chance to reorganize and rebuild at least to an extent.
As the NY mob stages a sort of comeback over the last few years, some families have benefited more than others. The Genovese crime family known as the “Ivy League” or organized crime has remained stable and many agree has been the most powerful of the NY mob families for some time now. They remain one of the more low-key families and it’s believed they are currently run by a rotating panel of leaders controlling the day to day operations of the family. They are believed to have approx 200 made members leading the way in overall manpower. The family has remained stable over the years, even before the reorganization of resources by the various law enforcement entities. They have had some bumps in the road and along with the rest of the family have seen their overall power and influence decrease, but they remain the most stable and well organized of the bunch.
Many believe the Gambino crime family may have benefited the most from the diminished FBI efforts over the last few years. After being hit hard by the prosecutions of the families, administration between 2005 and 2008 they have slowly regrouped. The Gambino family is considered by many to be the second most powerful family in New York at the moment with a stable hierarchy being put into place in the last few years. They are believed to have approx 150-180 made members and to be now run by the families Sicilian faction and have seen key members make their way back to the streets.
The Lucchese crime family was decimated by internal turmoil during the late 1980’s and into the 1990’s during the Amuso and Casso era. The family was hit hard by indictments again in 2009 and suffered major setbacks to its hierarchy. But the Lucchese family has also seen itself rebound with the installation of new boss Steven Crea and a more stable administration. They are believed to have under 100 made guys but have once again become one of the most stable of the New York families with many key players on the streets and back active. Many believe they may now rank as the third most powerful family in New York even if numbers wise they still lag somewhat behind the floundering Bonanno family.
The Bonanno crime family has continued to be in disarray after the arrest of former boss Joseph Massino which led to him turning rat. The family has been unable to get a stable and functioning administration put into place in the last few years as some of the other New York families have. Multiple acting and official bosses were put into place after Massino all of which have been unable to avoid convictions and establish any kind of stability. The Bonanno family is believed to have between 100-150 made members making them one of the larger NY families in size, but continue to lack and been unable to take full advantage of this rebuilding period.
The Colombo crime family has always been the smallest of the New York families, but have been one of the most decimated families over the last several years. Internal wars from the 1970’s into the 1990’s have severely hindered the families power and growth. At one point things had become so bad surrounding the Colombo family that it was proposed the family be dissolved and merged among the other NY families. The Colombo family installed new acting bosses as official boss Carmine Persico sits in prison and made attempts to establish a new administration throughout the 2000’s but convictions continued to dismantle their efforts. Although the family has not made the strides of late that some others have and remain as the smallest of the NY families with only 60-70 made members they do seem to be stabilizing some. Some of the families key players have begun to make their way back to the streets and rumors of a small influx of new blood may have them in the best shape they have been in years even if that isn’t saying a whole lot.
So which New York mafia family do you think has had the most success taking advantage of the resources shift and reorganization of the FBI’s organized crime efforts?