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For other uses, see Chicago Syndicate. Italian-American organized crime syndicate based in Chicago, Illinois, which dates back to the 1910s. The Outfit rose to power in the 1920s, under the control of Johnny Torrio and Al Capone and the period was marked by bloody gang wars for control of the distribution of illegal alcohol during Prohibition. Since then, the Outfit has been involved in a wide range of criminal activities, including loansharking, gambling, prostitution, extortion, political corruption, and murder. The Outfit did not have a monopoly on organized crime in Chicago, but was by far the most powerful, violent, and largest criminal organization in the Midwest. The Outfit’s influence, at its peak, stretched as far as California and Florida.

Higher law enforcement attention and general attrition has led to the Outfit’s gradual decline since the late 20th century. The early years of organized crime in Chicago, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, were marked by the division of various street gangs controlling the South Side and North Side, as well as the Black Hand organizations of Little Italy. Big Jim Colosimo centralized control in the early 20th century. Colosimo was born in Calabria, Italy, in 1877, emigrating to Chicago in 1895 where he established himself as a criminal. His expanding organization required the procurement of extra muscle. This came in the form of Colosimo’s nephew Johnny Torrio from New York. In 1919, Torrio brought in Al Capone, thus providing Capone’s entrance to Chicago.