A crime family is a unit of an organized crime syndicate, particularly in Italian organized crime and especially in the Sicilian Mafia and Italian American Mafia, often operating within a specific geographic territory or a specific set of activities. In its strictest sense, a family (or clan) is a criminal gang, operating either on a unitary basis or as an organized collection of smaller gangs (e.g., cells, factions, crews, etc.). In turn, a family can be a sole "enterprise" or part of a larger syndicate or cartel. Despite the name, most crime families are generally not based on or formed around actual familial connections, although they do tend to be ethnically-based, and many members may in fact be related to one another.
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