Of feathers and birds: The role of offending peers in the transmission of violent offending in offender networks

01 November 2021 → 31 October 2025
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Mathematical and quantitative methods not elsewhere classified
    • Causes and prevention of crime
    • Criminography and methods of criminological investigation
    • Criminology not elsewhere classified
Violent offending quantitative criminology social network analysis
Project description

Research addressing the transmission of violent offending has predominantly considered the spatial and temporal scales at which crime risk is transmitted. However, geographical features are only a part of the explanation of how crime is transmitted. Social processes may also impact the transmission of crime. In response, the role of person-to-person interactions within offender networks and adopting a social network approach is increasingly argued to be key to understand how crime risk is transmitted among individuals. However, extant research focuses on victimization within co-offending networks. The transmission of violent offending between offenders has been considered to a lesser extent. Therefore, I study how physical violent offending is transmitted between individuals within co-offending networks. For this, I adopt a network-based methodology that allows me to track the person-to-person transmission of physical violent offending in a social network of offending peers. Using police recorded crime data, the structure of the co-offending network of physical violent offenders is mapped, which enables me to establish the level of connectivity between the offenders. Subsequently, I apply network centrality measures to determine to what extent offenders in a network are important in respect to their network position. Finally, the predictive power of social network measures is compared to a demographics model, to determine the probability of future physical violent offending.