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Social Network Analysis Applied to Criminal Networks: Recent Developments in Dutch Law Enforcement

  • Paul A. C. Duijn
  • Peter P. H. M. Klerks
Part of the Lecture Notes in Social Networks book series (LNSN)

Abstract

This article examines the application of social network theory in Dutch law enforcement. Increasing amounts of information about habitual lawbreakers and criminal networks are collected under the paradigm of Intelligence-Led Policing. Combined with data gathered from open sources such as social media, such resources allow criminal analysts trained in social network analysis (SNA) at the Police Academy of The Netherlands to apply advanced network analysis methodology and crime scripting. This in turn helps the police to identify crucial weak spots in illicit arrangements and criminal business processes. A case study of the 'Blackbird' crime network, involved in the wholesale cultivation of cannabis is presented to illustrate the power of SNA when combined with crime script analysis. Using a mix of quantitative and qualitative analysis, the topology of the 86-strong Blackbird network is laid out and its substructures and key individuals exposed. In detailing the network's social embeddedness, the authors clarify the importance of female actors for the flexibility and efficiency of the network structure and thereby for the continuity of criminal business. Applying SNA is already helping criminal intelligence units of the Dutch police in identifying intelligence gaps and potential informants. Working in symbiosis, analysts and informant handlers develop a better understanding of strategic targeting and access points to relatively unknown criminal communities and –markets. To be delivered in a timely way to be useful in ongoing criminal investigations, SNA products require even faster data processing. Also, when applied to dark networks SNA should be tailored to better take network dynamics into account, in particular regarding the adaptability to network disruption.

Keywords

Social network analysis Organized crime Script analysis Crime logistics The Netherlands Intelligence led policing 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Research and AnalysisDutch Police Unit the HagueThe HagueThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Board of Procurators-GeneralPublic Prosecutor’s OfficeThe HagueThe Netherlands

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