The Effect of Structural Embeddedness on Gang Crime

Mark S. Fleisher, Case Western Reserve University
Jessie L. Krienert, Illinois State University
Norman A. White, University of Missouri - St. Louis

Social network analyss refers to the recurring patterns of relationships among people as structural embeddedness. The theoretical argument is that structural embeddedness is consequential for individual-level behavior, because structure (that is, recurring behavior patterns) determines information flow, material exchange, social support and the like. This paper applies this theory to a friendship network of 29 Gangster Disciple women using self-reported crime data. Separate indices of violent, economic, and property crime are generated for each woman and then mapped onto the GD friendship network. For each crime type the question is asked: does strutural embeddedness influence the frequency of a crime? Stated another way, are GDs who commit the highest frequency of (violent, economic, property) crime also most structurally central in the network? Multiple measures of structural centrality show different perspectives on structural position and crime frequency.

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Updated 05/20/2006