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Criminal networks: actors, mechanisms, and structures

PhD ceremony:Mr T. (Tomas) Diviak
When:February 20, 2020
Supervisor:prof. dr. T.A.B. (Tom) Snijders
Co-supervisors:dr. J.K. (Jan Kornelis) Dijkstra, dr. J. Burianek
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences
Criminal networks: actors, mechanisms, and structures

Research presented in this dissertation applies social network analysis (SNA) to cases of organized criminal groups. SNA is an approach that maps relations and interactions among a group of actors. In this case, the use of SNA allows to empirically examine how actors involved in various types of organized crime relate and interact with each other, such as how they cooperate or communicate. Several specific cases are analysed. The first one is a case of a political corruption, which exhibits a structure that strongly revolves around a few key actors, making the network in turn susceptible to detection and disruption. The next study is about a counterfeit alcohol distribution network, which activities resulted in tens of victims despite the network structure being far from its maximal distribution potential. Another study tests a theory called the efficiency-security trade-off by comparing a sample of profit-driven (e.g., drug traffickers) to ideology-driven (e.g., terrorists) criminal networks. Contrary to the theoretical expectations, these two types of networks are more similar than they are different. The last empirical study shows the unintended consequences that may be triggered by law enforcement interventions against jihadi terrorist networks. These networks may become more cohesive in response to interventions. This dissertation is concluded by a chapter proposing a more transparent and parsimonious way to collect data about criminal networks in order to improve generalizability and comparability of the results in the area.