This article examines the incomplete and sometimes contradictory evidence on the crime, organised crime and corruption situations in post-communist states, and then seeks to explain the apparent increase in all three in early post-communism. Among the factors considered are the impact of weak states and economies, neo-liberalism, globalisation, Schengen and Fortress Europe, the Communist legacy (the ‘ghost from the past’), and collusion. The article then examines the dynamics of criminality and malfeasance in the region, and provides evidence to suggest that the crime and corruption situation has stabilised or even improved in most post-communist countries in recent times. The factors considered for explaining this apparent improvement are the role of external agents (notably the EU), the move from transition to consolidation, and the role of political will.