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Final Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, 1951

The Kefauver Committee’s final report concluded that crime was primarily the responsibility of state and local authorities, prompting the establishment of many local crime initiatives. The report’s recommendations included the creation of a Federal Crime Commission and a Department of Justice “racket squad.”

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

Final Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, 1951

Gambling and Racketeering

Facing a crime surge after World War II, local officials requested help from Congress. To determine the extent of organized crime and whether it could be handled by the states, the Senate created a five-member Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce. In 1950 and 1951 the committee investigated gambling and organized crime in 14 cities. Its televised hearings, particularly in New York, raised public awareness of crime syndicates, led to more effective local law enforcement, and enhanced the political profile of its chairman, Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee.

Through the country the crime committee became. . . . a national crusade, a great debating forum, an arouser of public opinion on the state of the nation’s morals.

Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, Crime in America, 1951