Evolution of a drug trafficking network: Mapping changes in network structure and function across time

David Bright, Jordan Delaney

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    40 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    There is a growing body of research using social network analysis to study criminal networks. The great majority of this research examines networks at a single time point. Although there are theoretical approaches which hypothesise on how criminal networks develop and grow, little empirical research has been conducted on the growth of criminal networks over time. This project documents the growth of a drug trafficking network. The aims were to examine and describe structural and functional changes in a criminal network across time. We found that the density of the network remained somewhat stable over time, although the network became more decentralised at the final time point measured. Centrality scores for individual nodes showed significant changes over time. Individuals changed the roles performed across time, consistent with the changing needs and focus of the network. Overall, our results support the characterisation of networks as flexible and adaptive.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)238-260
    Number of pages23
    JournalGlobal Crime
    Volume14
    Issue number2-3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2013

    Keywords

    • crime script analysis
    • criminal networks
    • network dynamics
    • network roles
    • network structure
    • organised crime
    • social network analysis

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