Journal Cover Trends in Organized Crime
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   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 1936-4830 - ISSN (Online) 1084-4791
   Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2353 journals]
  • Introduction: the societal dimensions of organized crime
    • Authors: Martin Neumann; Corinna Elsenbroich
      Pages: 1 - 15
      PubDate: 2017-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-016-9294-z
      Issue No: Vol. 20, No. 1-2 (2017)
  • The shaping of covert social networks: isolating the effects of secrecy
    • Authors: Nigel G. Fielding
      Pages: 16 - 30
      Abstract: Abstract Secrecy amongst participants is widely regarded as a hallmark of organized crime. Accordingly, covertness is treated as an essential feature of organized crime networks and as one of the distinctive characteristics differentiating such networks from others. In other respects contemporary understandings of organized crime networks based on routine activities theory see strong parallels between criminal organizations and legitimate business organizations. Noting the scarcity of empirical evidence about covert networks and flaws in the conceptualization of how such networks form and operate, this article questions the basis for the assumption that covertness is a distinctive feature of organized crime networks.
      PubDate: 2017-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-016-9277-0
      Issue No: Vol. 20, No. 1-2 (2017)
  • By investigation, I mean computation
    • Authors: Nicola Lettieri; Delfina Malandrino; Luca Vicidomini
      Pages: 31 - 54
      Abstract: Abstract The computational analysis of the societal dimension of crime has aroused an increasing interest in recent years. Data mining, social network analysis (SNA), and visualization techniques are offering promising opportunities to the scientific and investigative study of criminal organizations. In spite of that, the spread of technological innovation faces serious difficulties due to the concurrence of different factors: the absence of user friendly crime analysis tools, the lack of technical skills of investigators (public prosecutors, police officers), two factors that, when combined with the pressure of daily routine, often result into a resistance to change. In this work we present an ongoing research project aiming to foster the potentialities of SNA and computation into criminal investigation. We define an holistic methodology that combines document-enhancement, social network analysis, and visualization techniques to support public prosecutors and criminal investigation departments in exploring the societal dimension of criminal groups. This approach has been deployed in a computational framework, CrimeMiner, validated with a case study based on data coming from real criminal investigations.
      PubDate: 2017-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-016-9284-1
      Issue No: Vol. 20, No. 1-2 (2017)
  • An engineering perspective for policy design: self-organizing crime as an
           evolutionary social system
    • Authors: Camilo Olaya; Laura Guzmán; Juliana Gomez-Quintero
      Pages: 55 - 84
      Abstract: Abstract Here we introduce methodological guidelines for designing policies against organized crime. We employ the evolutionary ontology proposed by Kurt Dopfer for conceiving organized crime as the outcome of social, intelligent agents whose strategies evolve through time. To illustrate the use of this ontology we explore the case of corruption in public procurement processes in Colombia in which criminal organizations—groups of corrupt agents—converge spontaneously. The ontology leads to conceive corruption as a knowledge process that adapts according to the evolution of problem-solving rules that are created, used and discarded by agents that seek to attain personal gains by means of public resources. We also use an engineering perspective that favors model-aided design. We built a simulation model that illustrates how the dynamics of such evolving-rules systems can be conceptualized for exploring potential policies. The application of the evolutionary ontology shows why corruption exhibits self-organization: system-level patterns develop from spontaneous interactions that use only local information. Rule dynamics form a changing structure of rule-populations that adapt to novel environmental conditions and generate meta-stable adaptions that explain why corruption persists despite continuous challenges from the environment. This engineering approach forms the ground for proposing policies that instead of addressing the operant level of a social system (according to observed operations and data), should meet the dynamics of rules that govern those operations. Hence, the role of regulators shifts from “controllers” to inventors of selectionist environments that facilitate suitable change through the introduction or promotion of counter-crime rules, the design of selective pressures that favor the evolution of desirable rules and the attention to coordination gaps at the macro-structure. The recognition of organized crime as the outcome of an evolving-rules system changes the questions that orient policy-making and focuses on the redesign of evolving knowledge. Accordingly, our methodological guidelines address such evolutionary dynamics and can be applied to several forms of organized crime.
      PubDate: 2017-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-016-9282-3
      Issue No: Vol. 20, No. 1-2 (2017)
  • GLODERS-S: a simulator for agent-based models of criminal organisations
    • Authors: Luis Gustavo Nardin; Áron Székely; Giulia Andrighetto
      Pages: 85 - 99
      Abstract: Abstract Computer simulation has recently been recognised by criminologists as a useful tool for bridging the gap between theoretical and empirical analyses of organised crime and for supplementing their weaknesses. GLODERS-S is an innovative and configurable agent-based simulator specialised in reproducing the dynamics of a specific type of criminal organisations: protection racketeering groups. The simulator adopts an event-based approach that provides a more realistic operation of the agents, which integrated with its configurability provides policy-makers with a highly flexible platform for analysing multiple scenarios and assessing policies to counter organised crime. In this paper, we describe the principles of the simulator design, its features and limitations, and possible applications.
      PubDate: 2017-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-016-9287-y
      Issue No: Vol. 20, No. 1-2 (2017)
  • Can agent-based simulation models replicate organised crime?
    • Authors: Klaus G. Troitzsch
      Pages: 100 - 119
      Abstract: Abstract The aim of the paper is to discuss the possibility of using complex software agents in a simulation model in order to represent and analyse the dynamics of certain types of criminal systems via Agent Based Modelling (ABM), in particular Extortion Racket Systems (ERSs). It presents a simulation model and the results of a large number of runs to find out under which parameter constellations governing the normative behaviour of the software agents the model replicates the macro observations in a number of provinces in Southern Italy. Finally the simulation model is applied to analysing strategies and their effect on the behaviour of the agents and the system as a whole.
      PubDate: 2017-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-016-9298-8
      Issue No: Vol. 20, No. 1-2 (2017)
  • The Addio Pizzo movement: exploring social change using agent-based
    • Authors: Corinna Elsenbroich
      Pages: 120 - 138
      Abstract: Abstract Extortion racketeering is a crime that blights the lives of everyone in societies where it takes hold. Whilst most European countries have some form of extortion racketeering, in most countries it is isolated to some ethnic communities. In Southern Italy and Sicily, extortion racketeering is still a feature of overall society. This paper attempts to look at the phenomenon from the angle of collectives, of resistance building through civic organisations such as Addiopizzo. For this investigation a computational model is presented to analyse the effect of team-reasoning on levels of resistance in systemic extortion rackets. An agent-based model is presented that implements the interaction of different kinds of decision-making of extortion victims with law enforcement deterrence. The results show that established extortion rackets are hard to undermine unless bottom-up civic engagement and law enforcement go hand in hand.
      PubDate: 2017-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-016-9288-x
      Issue No: Vol. 20, No. 1-2 (2017)
  • Mafia war: simulating conflict escalation in criminal organizations
    • Authors: Martin Neumann; Ulf Lotzmann; Klaus G. Troitzsch
      Pages: 139 - 178
      Abstract: Abstract The paper describes a simulation model of conflict escalation in criminal organizations, investigating conditions of stability and collapse of the organization. As a paradigmatic case, the Sicilian Cosa Nostra provides the background for the formulation of the model assumptions. Cosa Nostra faced two so-called Mafia wars. Outbreak of wars is replicated by the simulation model. Since criminal organizations operate outside the state monopoly of violence, they provide a laboratory for studying war and state in the making: Organizational stability remains dependent on the loyalty of the Mafiosi. Monte-Carlo simulation experiments reveal a constant danger of a Hobbesian war of all against all. A statistical examination of explanatory factors of the distribution of violence shows that minimal differences in the initial conditions open up pathways to the escalation of violence. Central factors for stability are economic prosperity and normative commitment to the organization. Once the economic carrying capacity of the environment is reached, normative binding forces control escalation of violence. However, stability remains precarious and is in constant danger of falling in a trap cycle of revenge. This path-dependent effect is the central mechanism for the escalation of violence.
      PubDate: 2017-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-016-9292-1
      Issue No: Vol. 20, No. 1-2 (2017)
  • Corrado Alvaro and the Calabrian mafia: a critical case study of the use
    • Authors: Amber Phillips
      Pages: 179 - 195
      Abstract: Abstract The Calabrian mafia, or ‘Ndrangheta, is a hugely powerful international crime syndicate, with origins that can be traced back to the late nineteenth century. By far the least studied of Italy’s ‘big three’ mafias, socio-historical research on the earlier stage of the organisation’s history has tended to make extensive use of literary and journalistic texts as source material (see Arlacchi (1983); Ciconte (1992); Paoli (2003)). This paper will present a cautionary example of the importance of interrogating literary and journalistic representations of Italian organized crime sensitively and within context, taking an article written by celebrated Calabrian writer Corrado Alvaro as a case study. It argues that academic perceptions of the early ‘Ndrangheta are, through their reliance on cultural products, impacted by the narratives contained within such texts; a phenomenon which merits further investigation. Further, drawing on cultural memory studies, it argues that, while the accuracy of the representations of the ‘Ndrangheta contained within these texts may be called into question, they do, through their ability to both reflect and shape public opinion, have a valuable contribution to make to our understanding of perceptions of Calabrian organized crime in its native region.
      PubDate: 2017-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-016-9285-0
      Issue No: Vol. 20, No. 1-2 (2017)
  • Loan-sharking in a time of crisis: lessons from Rome’s illegal
           credit market
    • Authors: Isabella Clough Marinaro
      Pages: 196 - 215
      Abstract: Abstract One of the consequences of Italy’s on-going financial crisis has been rising civil society activism and media attention to the growing phenomenon of families and small businesses becoming indebted to illegal moneylenders. Much of the public discourse focuses on indications that major organized crime groups are strengthening their participation in this sector and appropriating homes and business assets as a means of laundering money and expanding their presence in the legal economy. This article examines the multiple and complex factors that leave rising numbers of small business owners with few alternatives to seeking illegal sources of credit in order to continue operating financially. Focusing on the city of Rome and drawing on in-depth interviews with support groups and former debtors, as well as on a wide range of documentation and statistical data, it provides a multiscalar analysis of the ways in which local social norms concerning informal credit and the exigencies of day-to-day business practice on a micro scale are interwoven with the macro-level effects of legislation, banking practices, and the capacity of institutions mandated to fight illegal lending. It questions whether an adequate system of alternatives to borrowing illegally exists and the extent to which the official mechanisms in place to disincentivize this practice are effective.
      PubDate: 2017-06-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-016-9279-y
      Issue No: Vol. 20, No. 1-2 (2017)
  • Human trafficking and criminal proceedings in Portugal: discourses of
           professionals in the justice system
    • Authors: Marlene Matos; Mariana Gonçalves; Ângela Maia
      Abstract: Abstract Since the adoption of the UN Trafficking Protocol in 2000, the predominant approach to combat human trafficking has been based on the criminalization of traffickers in conjunction with a concern for victims’ protection. However, few empirical studies considered the effectiveness of those measures, which makes it difficult to understand why criminal cases of human trafficking generally result in few convictions. In Portugal, recent legislative changes have made the legal framework on human trafficking more comprehensive, inclusive and convergent with European directives. The effects of the implementation of those legislative changes on investigation and prosecution are still overlooked. The present study analyses the discourses of justice system professionals that concern the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking. It examines and identifies the factors that, in their perspective, block the recognition of the typifying elements of the crime of human trafficking and create obstacles to the prosecution and conviction of those crimes. Our findings suggest that legislative advances recognized by the participants need to be accompanied by other changes, some of a more systemic nature and others that are more specific. An efficient criminal procedure should include better legal phrasing of the means of evidence of human trafficking that is supported by objective instruments for this to be considered valid; the centralization of proof that the testimony of the victim has to overcome; specialized professional training of an ongoing nature; an efficient cooperation between the various law enforcement agencies at the national and international levels, with public prosecution services and magistrates; a greater clarification of the condition of the special vulnerability of victims and an informed perspective regarding the global nature of the phenomenon of human trafficking, one that is also sensitive towards the victim (e.g., in relation to the victims’ vulnerability, illegal status, and their difficulties in terms of social and cultural integration).
      PubDate: 2017-08-12
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-017-9317-4
  • An introduction to the special issue on ‘counterfeiting’
    • Authors: Georgios A. Antonopoulos; Alexandra Hall; Joanna Large; Anqi Shen
      Abstract: Abstract This paper provides an introduction to the articles and report excerpts included in the special issue of Trends in Organized Crime on ‘Counterfeiting’. The aim of this special issue is to add to the relatively sparse literature currently available that addresses this expansive and complex criminological phenomenon. In particular, the special issue draws together empirical research findings and theoretical accounts on the organization of the counterfeit trade across a broad spectrum of goods, and highlights a number of issues associated with researching counterfeiting.
      PubDate: 2017-08-05
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-017-9319-2
  • Criminal organizing applying the theory of partial organization to four
           cases of organized crime
    • Authors: Amir Rostami; Hernan Mondani; Fredrik Liljeros; Christofer Edling
      Abstract: Abstract We explore how the idea of partial organization can provide insights in the study of organized crime. Studying criminal organizing with a theoretical framework used for other social organizing phenomena can help us see the interplay between different forms of criminal collaboration under a single analytical lens, and start a discussion on whether criminal organizing is intrinsically different from other types of social organizing. We analyze four cases of criminal collaboration in Sweden between 1990 and 2015: the Syriac mafia, the Hells Angels Mc Sweden, the street gang Werewolf Legion, and the Hallunda robbery. While the outlaw motorcycle gang, and to a certain extent the street gang, are complete organizations, the mafia is based around and heavily parasitic on other institutions. We have also shown that time-bounded projects are found in the criminal context, with these emerging from strong network relations. Our results show that most of the elements of criminal organizing are not formalized and that partial organization is at least as important and powerful as complete organization.
      PubDate: 2017-07-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-017-9315-6
  • Gangs in the DRC and El Salvador: towards a third generation of gang
           violence interventions'
    • Authors: Ellen Van Damme
      Abstract: Abstract The phenomenon of gangs in El Salvador and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has already been researched, but a comparative study of gangs and gang policies is lacking. In this paper we discuss several gang violence prevention initiatives regarding the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 in El Salvador, and the kuluna and bashege in Kinshasa, DRC. In order to analyze the different gang interventions, we implement the typology of first and second gang violence prevention initiatives (Rodgers et al. 2009), and propose the evolution towards a third generation of gang violence prevention interventions. While first generation initiatives are security and law-enforcement driven, and second generation initiatives socio-preventive driven, third generation initiatives are more politically driven. The latter indicates a shift towards a vision of dialogue and negotiations to deal with gang violence. However, the different generations are not predefined within time and third generation initiatives can also be followed up by first generation initiatives, which was for example the case in the gang truce in El Salvador. Also, comparative gang research includes challenges, especially when the gang phenomenon in one country is better researched and documented than in other countries. As such, we were unable to identify politically-driven initiatives in the DRC to compare with the ones in El Salvador. Further research is thus required. With this paper we not only aim to contribute to the literature on gang violence prevention and reduction initiatives, we also want to push researchers, practitioners and policymakers to look beyond the borders when setting up gang (violence) prevention and rehabilitation projects, and to learn from other regions where similar initiatives have been implemented to deal with comparable issues of gang violence.
      PubDate: 2017-06-20
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-017-9316-5
  • Russia’s Night Wolves Motorcycle Club: from 1%ers to political
    • Authors: Yuliya Zabyelina
      Abstract: Abstract In the late 2000s, the Night Wolves Motorcycle Club, Russia’s largest motorcycle organization, became closely intertwined with the Kremlin’s domestic and international agendas, although only a decade ago they protested against the Soviet establishment and called for freedom and democracy. This article traces the ideological development of the Night Wolves, explores the nature of their relationship with the Kremlin, and evaluates their role in President Vladimir Putin’s sistema—a system of governance grounded on informal mechanisms of power distribution and personalized loyalties. In addition, the article analyzes the activities of the Night Wolves in Ukraine and their role in the consolidation of pro-Russian forces and propagation of Kremlin-designed narratives.
      PubDate: 2017-06-09
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-017-9314-7
  • Crime in Ireland north and south: Feuding gangs and profiteering
    • Authors: Niamh Hourigan; John F. Morrison; James Windle; Andrew Silke
      Abstract: Abstract This paper provides a systematic overview of the emergence of organized crime in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland since the late 1960s. It draws on two major studies of organized crime in the South (Hourigan 2011) and paramilitary activity in the North (Morrison 2014) to explore how conflict within and between organized criminal and paramilitary groups, shapes the distinctive dynamic of organized crime on the island of Ireland. The paper opens with an overview of the development of the drugs trade in the Republic of Ireland. The distinctive cultural characteristics of Irish organized crime groups are considered and the role played by paramilitary groups in criminal networks, North and South, is reviewed. As part of this analysis, the dynamic of inter-gang feuds and the spectrum of conflicts between organized criminal and paramilitary groups are analyzed. The competitive and mutually beneficial links between these organizations, North and South are explored as well as the tendency of paramilitaries to engage in vigilantism against criminals (mostly drugs dealers) as a means of building political capital within local communities.
      PubDate: 2017-05-29
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-017-9312-9
  • Social network analysis as a tool for criminal intelligence: understanding
           its potential from the perspectives of intelligence analysts
    • Authors: Morgan Burcher; Chad Whelan
      Abstract: Abstract Over the past two decades an increasing number of researchers have applied social network analysis (SNA) to various ‘dark’ networks. This research suggests that SNA is capable of revealing significant insights into the dynamics of dark networks, particularly the identification of critical nodes, which can then be targeted by law enforcement and security agencies for disruption. However, there has so far been very little research into whether and how law enforcement agencies can actually leverage SNA in an operational environment and in particular the challenges agencies face when attempting to apply various network analysis techniques to criminal networks. This paper goes some way towards addressing these issues by drawing on qualitative interviews with criminal intelligence analysts from two Australian state law enforcement agencies. The primary contribution of this paper is to call attention to the organisational characteristics of law enforcement agencies which, we argue, can influence the capacity of criminal intelligence analysts to successfully apply SNA as much as the often citied ‘characteristics of criminal networks’.
      PubDate: 2017-05-24
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-017-9313-8
  • Organizing on two wheels: uncovering the organizational patterns of Hells
           Angels MC in Sweden
    • Authors: Amir Rostami; Hernan Mondani
      Abstract: Abstract During the last decades, Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs (OMCs) have become a concern for crime prevention and law enforcement agencies. The general perception of OMCs is ambiguous. They are seen either as highly structured criminal organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs for conducting sophisticated criminal enterprises, or as clubs built around the camaraderie of freedom-seeking bikers. Using unique Swedish longitudinal data on gang membership and co-offending patterns, we study the organizational dynamics of Hells Angels MC Sweden and its sub-organizations Red & White Crew and Red Devils MC. Our results reveal a complex picture. Co-offending network patterns and offense type distributions vary for each sub-organization, indicating potential differences in organizational dynamics. Red & White Crew has features that are more similar to street gangs than OMCs, and Red Devils MC has a more decentralized and chapter-based pattern of criminal collaboration than Hells Angels MC. Besides increasing our understanding of OMC collaboration structure, our results have implications for crime prevention strategies. We suggest that social responses and law enforcement efforts should take into account the heterogeneity of OMCs in order to avoid counterproductive consequences in terms of increased group cohesiveness.
      PubDate: 2017-05-24
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-017-9310-y
  • Different uses of violence: Motives for Camorra murders
    • PubDate: 2017-05-15
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-017-9309-4
  • Recent publications on organized crime
    • Authors: Klaus von Lampe
      PubDate: 2017-05-11
      DOI: 10.1007/s12117-017-9311-x
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