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CINA Virtual Distinguished Speaker Series: Martin Bouchard “Social Outlaws: What Network Data Tells Us About Gangs”
November 12, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Over the past 20 years, social network analysis (SNA) has transformed our conceptualization of crime and delinquency. Criminological theories that place the social factor front and center can now be tested with better data and measures, providing a more sophisticated demonstration of the mechanisms involved. Yet, the impact of SNA has arguably been felt the strongest in the field of gangs and organized crime, the focus of this talk. After all, gangs are a prime example of cooperative behavior under stressful conditions. The higher stakes involved in many gang crimes, and the requirement for continuity imply a higher need for secrecy and trust in one’s associates as a driver of action. The talk focuses on four lessons learned on gangs and networks, formulated as testable empirical statements: 1) Gang boundaries are messy but best measured via networks; 2) Gang members routinely work and interact with non-members. Yet, for high stakes crime, members select their own; 3) Gang cohesion matters for survival. Smaller gangs benefit from outside alliances while larger gangs benefit from keeping ties within; 4) Social networks are the strongest predictors of gang violence.
Martin Bouchard is a Professor of Criminology at Simon Fraser University, where he leads the Crime and Illicit Networks Laboratory. Dr. Bouchard’s research focuses on the dynamics of illicit markets, as well as the role of social networks in a variety of criminal phenomena, including street gangs and organized crime. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on these topics over the last 15 years. He received the 2013 SFU Dean of Graduate Studies Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision, and he is the 2018-2019 recipient of the WSC Fellows Award for individuals associated with the Western region who have made important contributions to the field of criminology. Dr. Bouchard has a long track record of successful collaborations with law enforcement agencies, most notably in facilitating the integration of network methods in criminal intelligence analysis. Current projects focus on the use of network methods for gang violence reduction.
Personal website: mbcriminology.com