skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 81001 Find in a Library
Title: Social Network Analysis - An Aid in Conspiracy Investigations
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:50  Issue:12  Dated:(December 1981)  Pages:11-19
Author(s): R H Davis
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The use of social network analysis in the conduct of investigations of conspiracies is described.
Abstract: Social network analysis is a technique for describing interaction patterns between people to better understand and predict behavior. The investigation of an organized fencing operation being run by members of a local gang from a tavern is an example of the potential use of this technique. In this hypothetical example, the police watch the tavern during the evening hours to determine who may be involved in the operation. Using social networking techniques, the officers can convert their observations of people arriving at and departing from the tavern into a network diagram showing the structure of interpersonal relations within the group. From this picture, police can determine the connections between group members and can focus on those who would potentially be the most knowledgeable about the crime. Group structure may be important to investigations of racketeering enterprises, narcotics operations, illegal gambling, and business frauds. By examining network members' roles, relationships, and personalities, the investigator may identify the nature and extent of conspiratorial involvement. Either manual or computer techniques may be required to analyze the data. Among areas that may be analyzed are the social distance between individuals and groups, the direction in which exchanges flow between people, the relative influence of various group members, the suspect's centrality to the group, and the degree of cohesiveness of the group. Principles of network analysis may also be used to examine connections among groups. Network analysis is thus an important part of a conspiracy investigation and should not be overlooked as an investigative tool. Tables, diagrams, and 36 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; Communications; Conspiracy; Criminal investigation; Gangs; Groups; Interpersonal relations; Social network analysis
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.