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The issue with most organized crime and terrorist network analysis, as has
already been pointed out, is that the data that are available tend to
reflect the story that particular actors, usually prosecutors or
reporters, want to tell. So newspaper reports tend to produce small
networks with dramatic connections often to famous people. Court records
produce discrete and highly structured small networks that make for good
cases. If the OC people from the FBI are involved the networks will almost
inevitably look like 5 hierarchical families. If you get less processed
data (such as phone calls or surveillence reports), the world will look
more messy and less structured. Almost everyone will end up in one big
component (which is of course interesting) but it will look more like the
regular crime networks.

I personally think that networks are the way to look at the organization
of crime, and many SNA tools are helpful for this, but I would be very,
very cautious. Most criminals, by the way, are not specialists, so in this
as in everything else it may another example of why organized crime is not
a particularly useful concept.

Elin

Elin Waring, "Conceptualizing Co-offending: A Network Form of
Organization," in Elin Waring and David Weisburd, editors, Crime and
Social Organization: Advances in Criminological Theory Volume
10.  Transactions Publishers, 2002.

James Finckenauer and Elin Waring, "Russian Emigre Crime in the
U.S.: Organized Crime or Crime That is Organized?," Transnational
Organized Crime, 1996. Reprinted in Phil Williams, editor, Russian
Organized Crime: The New Threat? London: Frank Cass, 1997

James O. Finckenauer and Elin Waring, Russian Mafia in America: Crime,
Immigration, and Culture, Northeastern University Press, 1998.



Elin Waring
Professor
Department of Sociology and Social Work
Lehman College
250 Bedford Park Boulevard West
Bronx NY 10468
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On Tue, 3 Aug 2004, Bill Richards wrote:

> Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 10:40:06 -0700
> From: Bill Richards <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: organized criminal activity and terrorist individuals or groups
>
> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/  *****
>
> Frank Shanty <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> I am a doctoral student preparing my research proposal on the links between organized criminal activity (i.e. drug  trafficking and terrorist organizations. My research will attempt to determine if patterns in the data show a direct relationship or points/patterns of convergence).  My research design will be a mixed-methods approach (i.e., quantitative global relational database of suspected drug trafficking and distribution networks) and qualitative (i.e., two country case studies: Afghanistan and Myanmar).
>
> Although I am very new to SNA my thinking at this point leads me to believe that social network methods of analysis MAY be the best approach to evaluate possible points of intersection between organized criminals (transnational drug traffickers) and terrorist individuals or groups. But to be quite honest with you I am not sure given the clandestine nature of the activity/relationships I am investigating.
>
> Question: Am I completely off base?
>
> I thank you for your time and assistance.
>
> Best Regards,
> Frank Shanty
>
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