The analysis of criminal and terrorist organisations as social network structures

Mainas, Efstathios D. (2009) The analysis of criminal and terrorist organisations as social network structures. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The threat posed by organised crime and terrorism in an increasingly networked world indicates the importance of analysing efficiently and effectively the patterns of criminal ties. The science of social networks offers a conceptual framework, methods and software tools to conduct sophisticated network analysis, that is to measure and visualise empirical networks of any kind. The aim of the study was to test, examine and consider the usefulness of social network analysis (SNA) as a principal approach for the analysis and investigation of criminal and terrorist organisations. The researcher deployed general and domain-specific reviews and two quasi-experiments based on a conceptual analytical framework to test the hypothesis that the application of network concepts and techniques can help law enforcement and intelligence agencies understand and derive meaning from complex and/or large data sets pertaining to criminal and terrorist network structures. The evidence supported this hypothesis and allowed generalizable conclusions to be drawn. It was found that SNA is an effective and reliable approach that gives investigators and analysts the power to describe networks. It can influence new ways of investigative and analytical thinking and has applications in the development of numerous intelligence-led applications. The study furthers understanding on the application of SNA concepts and techniques that could be of benefit to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Its methodology, analytical framework and findings can be used to carry out empirical investigations and inform decisions about SNA programmes and technologies. Future research challenges involve putting other network theories into action to produce useful intelligence. Certainly, additional work is required to develop and validate a holistic SNA framework and extend the range of applications against organised crime and terrorism.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:15

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