Identifying Mafia Bosses from Meeting Attendance

Part of the Lecture Notes in Social Networks book series (LNSN)


Law enforcement agencies have frequently shown skepticism toward the results of the application of social network analysis to organized crime. Indeed, most studies to date have analyzed data (e.g. telephone intercepts) whose content was already well-known to the practitioners. Shifting the focus to data on mafia meetings, this chapter explores whether network analysis can identify the bosses in a large mafia network. The analysis relies on data from a large-scale investigation on the presence of the ‘Ndrangheta, a mafia from the Southern Italian region of Calabria. Operation Infinito identified several mafia families and tracked a number of mafia meetings. The results show that betweenness centrality is the most significant predictor of leadership in the mafia. A logistic regression model, using network measures as predictors, is able successfully to predict the position (boss or other) of 92 % of the individuals in the network. If supported by further studies, network analysis of meetings may provide law enforcement agencies with information useful for identifying the bosses of criminal organizations.


Mafia Organized crime Social network analysis ‘Ndrangheta Statistical analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and TranscrimeMilanItaly

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