About Protection Rackets (US Mafia Specifically)

Let’s say that Big Tony stops by my store offering me “protection” in exchange for money. Obviously what he’s “protecting” me from is his own men.

But if I were under Big Tony’s “protection” and I were legitimately harmed - say, ripped off by an unscrupulous vendor, or approached by Big Louie also asking for protection money - would Big Tony be honor-bound to do anything about it? Does The Mob work that way?

IANAMafioso, but I think that they would. The point is that your store is effectively under their jurisdiction and you are showing allegiance to their political power.

Not an expert either, but from what I’ve read about it, you wouldn’t be protected from getting ripped off in your business dealings, but you would be protected from other gangs. Your store is their territory, no one else is going to shake you down but them. As for protection from common crime, I’m not sure of the specifics, but I’ve read that Mafioso didn’t tolerate casual criminals operating in their area. Robbing customers and local businesses cuts into their profits.

I think it’s more economics than politics. Let’s say Big Tony demands $100 a week for “protection”. Then Big Louie comes along and also demands $100 a week. Suppose you decide to avoid trouble and begin paying off both men.

Then Big Tony finds out you’re also paying Big Louie. He’s going to be mad but not because Big Louie is working in “his” territory. He’s going to be mad because he found out you’re willing to pay a total of $200 a week and he’s only getting half of it.

IANJoeyTheWrench (and whatever you’r’n aksing questions about, it wuven’t me, I wuven’t there and you can’t prove nuffin’) but organized crime as a general rule tends to want to project a veneer of legitimacy and actually helping the community they live off of. See: Al Capone’s soup kitchens for example. In Japan, one Yakuza family notoriously (and quite publicly) stole/commandeered a news helicopter to help with the Fukushima evacuations (and Yakuza in general are very involved in humanitarian causes & philanthropy. It’s a thing).

Besides that, you getting ripped off in a crooked business deal directly affects their profit margins, i.e. you can’t pay them. So I think you could make that argument to Big Tony, and possibly get some heavy-handed help retrieving your stolen property. Presumably in a way that makes you complicit to a serious crime and lands you even deeper in his pocket, at which point they’ll use your business for no ends of shenanigans before burning it down for the insurance money. The mob is helpful like that.
As for Big Louie, you can absolutely be assured he’s going to be looking for his kneecaps soon-ish. Crime bosses are protective of their turfs. It’s about pride as much as money. Also a reason to show their muscle, which helps highlighting the legitimacy of the “would be a shame if that had happened to you, eh ?” part of the racket.

Puzzo made a similar point in The Godfather. Crime dropped to nearly zero in Long Beach after the Corleone family moved in.

There was a reason why the neighborhood was firmly behind John Gotti. Not only did he throw big parties with fireworks for everyone, they all felt safe because robbers and burglars would not come to the area.

What actual real life event did Puzo base this on? Because otherwise your post has no place in this discussion.