randomtroper89 on Nov 17th 2018 at 11:35:26 PM
Last Edited By:
randomtroper89 on Dec 10th 2018 at 1:43:22 PM
Page Type: trope
A criminal, usually part of The Mafia or an ethnic equivalent, offers protection to the neighborhood. He will approach local small businesses and comment on their "nice things" and how they wouldn't want anything to happen to them. Most likely the person he is "protecting" them from is himself. The catch is that he will extort regular fees from the person they are "protecting", and if the character does not pay up, the criminal will make it clear who exactly they are "protecting" them from.
A more powerful and high ranking criminal may do this to other criminals, not tolerating crime in their territory unless they get a cut of the action.
In Medieval focused works, taxes from the local lord are usually portrayed in a similar manor.
Compare Loan Shark, the other main underworld means of extorting people. In this case the money is genuinely owed, albeit with steep interest.
Trope namespace currently redirects to Shame If Something Happened. The former is the motivation behind the threats, the latter is the manner the threats are delivered.
- Henry Hill from GoodFellas describes a typical mafia racket, a combination of protection scheme and bust-out scam, entered into by way of a deal with a restaurant owner who was sick of having to deal with vicious gangster Tommy DeVito disrupting his business and scaring off his customers and went to the guy's boss, Paul Cicero, for help. Henry notes that Paulie will help the owner with any problem, but the help comes at a steep prices, and he will accept no excuses for late payments.
- Venom (2018): Shopkeeper Mrs. Chen is robbed by a man implied to be part of some sort of racket, given how regularly and brazenly he robs her. The first time, Eddie Brock shrinks away, but when Brock gains the Venom symbiote he confronts the man and bites his head off.
- In Discworld the Ankh-Morpork Thieves' Guild switched from random theft to charging people theft insurance policies where they only burglarize them on a pre-determined annual date, after Lord Vetinari proposed the scheme and informed the Guild leadership that he knew where they lived.
- In The Expanse novel Leviathan Wakes Joe Miller interviews a shopkeeper who used to pay protection money via a transparently fraudulent "insurance policy" to one of Ceres' criminal syndicates, but then they suddenly disappeared hired by Protogen as cannon fodder on Eros. Shortly after a teenager showed up at the shop and tried extorting the same money from him, but the shopkeeper refused and informed his friends in the Outer Planets Alliance, who dealt with him.
- The Taking of Pelham One Two Three: Mr. Grey was fired from the Mafia for being too violent. The novel explains that Mr. Gray's taste for violence got in the way of running protection rackets effectively; the victims felt no obligation to cooperate since he tended to beat them whether they paid or not.
- Yendi. Vlad Taltos is a leader in the Jhereg (fantasy equivalent of The Mafia and the Yakuza) in charge of the criminal activities of an area of the city of Adrilankha. One of his operations is the protection racket that extracts money from merchants in his area. It provides most of his income, and when a rival crimelord starts attacking the businesses under his protection, he must take action to stay in charge.
- Burn Notice:
- "Broken Rules": A gang is shaking down businesses in a neighborhood in Little Havana. The shopkeeper who hires Michael to deal with them says that "at first they said it was for 'protection'. Now they don't even bother to lie". The gang turns out to be run by a businesswoman who is trying to drive out the residents so she can cheaply buy up the real estate.
- "Friendly Fire": Team Westen tracks a fugitive who is hosted by a gang that is running a protection racket against another gang. The smaller gang robs baby formula and the like from warehouses to deliver to impoverished residents at a discount, whereas the bigger gang is pushing them to steal prescription drugs for black market sale.
- Daredevil (2015): In season three this is the ultimate goal of Wilson "The Kingpin" Fisk, in Foggy Nelson's words, to became a "one-stop shop for bribery and protection". He becomes an FBI informant and blackmails his handlers to get them under his thumb, so he can prosecute any of his rivals at his leisure. He then gathers his rival crime bosses, offers then 20% of all their profits, and then kills the man who refuses so he can jack the price to 25%.
- Parodied in a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch. Two members of Cockney Mafiosi approach the colonel in command of a British Army base played by Graham Chapman. One of them says "You've got a nice army base here, colonel. We wouldn't want anything to happen to it." They further imply that the base's equipment could get broken and its personnel set on fire if the Army doesn't pay them off. They then ask for a ludicrously small payment.
- The Sopranos: Played with in the final season. One of the family's minor protected businesses folds and is replaced with a Brand X Starbucks. Two of Tony's lieutenants go in to try this routine on the new manager. He immediately recognizes what they are doing, but in an almost sympathetic tone he points out the store's workforce isn't unionized and the company is a billion dollar multinational with complete insurance. What's more, every single bean is in the computer, so if he started skimming for the mob he'd be fired immediately and they'd have to start over. The two mobsters leave, complaining about the state of modern business.
- In Blades in the Dark, protection racket is one of the claims (sources of income) available to the Bravos crew type.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- In the Forgotten Realms setting priests of the ocean goddess Umberlee often exploit their goddess' reputation for causing storms and drowning people on a whim to run protection rackets over harbours and shipping companies, charging ship captains a fee in exchange for travelling with their ship or mentioning it in their prayers so that it will be spared from Umberlee's destructive wrath.
- Neverwinter Nights 2:
- One of your first missions after arriving in Neverwinter involves a stubborn shop keeper who is being threatened by the local Thieves' Guild to join a protection scheme. You can either join the guild and 'persuade' the shop keeper that paying the guild is in his best interests, or join the City Watch and kill the thugs who come to shake him down.
- A later quest involves an eccentric market stall owner who's actually overjoyed that thugs are trying to coerce her into paying their protection fee, seeing it as a sign of her successful her business has become.
- One of your missions for the Mafia in Grand Theft Auto III has you chauffeuring a mafioso as he makes his rounds on a protection racket. At one point he goes into one business that hasn't paid with a baseball bat while we don't get to see what happens, but what we hear isn't pleasant.
- Honkai Impact 3rd: around 500 years before the present, the Schicksal Organization lost a lot of their members and resources in their crusades against the Honkai threats. They had to resort to extorting money from the closest people (in Europe) at the time to cover their loss, under the pretense of "buying 'indulgences' as a means to pay for their 'original sins' for those who didn't go to the war".
- The Heaven Cycle: King of hell Azazel offers random cities to renegade demon Naberius to destroy and to turn their inhabitants into his twisted art projects, so Naberius does not prey on Azazel and his fellow demons.
- In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "Zuko Alone", a group of Earth Kingdom soldiers do this to the small Earth Nation village their supposed to be protecting, threatening violent consequences if they aren't paid. The group is much less organised than most examples, but it works because almost anyone who could fight back against them is off fighting in the war.
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