Resilience in criminal networks

Salvatore Catanese, Pasquale De Meo, Giacomo Fiumara


Resilience identifies the ability of criminal networks to face pressures from law enforcement agencies and rapidly reorganize after perturbations or destabilizing attacks. Apart from environmental considerations, this concept is strongly tied to the topology of criminal networks which, unlike social networks, can be configured as hierarchical, cellular (or modular), flat or, even more frequently, as a combination of them. Resilience has implications in the techniques of investigation of law enforcement agencies especially during the phases of information gathering or planning of police actions. In this paper we review concepts and methods derived from Social Network Analysis and apply them to study the resilience of a criminal network. We also examine the evolution of a criminal network operating in Sicily (Italy), before and after the counter-actions of police agencies. We also show how the resilience of the network originated and the features that enable the dynamical reshaping of the criminal networks so as to continue illegal activities.


Criminal Networks; Social Network Analysis; Resilience

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