Communities are under siege by crimes for profit. When criminals make money (regardless of method: fraud, human trafficking, drugs, counterfeit or stolen goods, cargo, identity theft, or organized retail theft), they create a shadow economy. This illicit activity competes with and erodes the economic stability of our communities. Unique research into the economic impact of the shadow economy reveals the critical need to support skilled, targeted investigations and effective prosecution. Unfortunately, there are ever-increasing efforts to decriminalize non-violent crimes. These policies are fueling the unprecedented growth of the shadow economy. In order to defend communities from this threat, investigators will require a counter-narrative to illustrate how these policies are generating more crime, propagating violence, and ultimately leading to urban decay.