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Evolution of a Drug Trafficking Network: Mapping Changes in Network Structure and Function Across Time

NCJ Number
Global Crime Volume: 14 Issue: 2-3 Dated: May - August 2013 Pages: 238-260
David A. Bright; Jordan J. Delaney
Date Published
May 2013
23 pages
This project documents the growth of a drug trafficking network.
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 hypothesize 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. The authors found that the density of the network remained somewhat stable over time, although the network became more decentralized 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, the results support the characterization of networks as flexible and adaptive. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.