The Mafia "street tax" is one imposed on any number of illegal or "fringe" enterprises for the right to operate in Mafia-controlled areas. Burglars, thieves, hijackers, X-rated movie houses, pornographers, chop shop operators, pimps and prostitutes are required to pay tribute to the mob.
For many years Harlem's top numbers racketeer, Spanish Raymond Marquez, paid a street tax of 5 percent of his take to a leading Mafia boss, Fat Tony Salerno, and thus was free of any mob headaches.
Freelance crooks operating within a crime family's territory can face very high taxes. For instance, an independent thief or hijacker working New York's JFK airport may be subjected to a 25 percent tax by the Gambino crime family. Some families demand as much as 50 percent of the take when a crook fails to clear his caper in advance.
However, many sharp crooks do not feel it safe to clear things in advance because a crime family may have plans of their own and can make points by turning the independent in to the law so that the authorities then owe them one. Clearly the no snitching rule does not apply to outsiders if it serves mob purposes.