Choosing Representatives to Deliver the Message in a Group Violence Intervention

31 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2017 Last revised: 20 Mar 2017

Andrew Palmer Wheeler

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

Sarah J McLean

John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety

Kelly J. Becker

John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety

Robert E Worden

John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety; SUNY University at Albany

Date Written: March 16, 2017

Abstract

Objectives: The group based violence intervention model is predicated on the assumption that individuals who are delivered the deterrence message spread the message to the remaining group members. We focus on the problem of who should be given the initial message to maximize the reach of the message within the group.

Methods: We use social network analysis to create an algorithm to prioritize individuals to deliver the message. Using a sample of twelve gangs in four different cities, we identify the number of members in the dominant set. The edges in the gang networks are defined by being arrested or stopped together in the prior three years. In eight of the gangs we calculate the reach of observed call-ins, and compare these with the sets defined by our algorithm. In four of the gangs we calculate the reach for a strategy that only calls-in members under supervision.

Results: The message only needs to be delivered to around 1/3 of the members to reach 100% of the group. Using simulations we show our algorithm identifies the minimal dominant set in the majority of networks. The observed call-ins were often inefficient, and those under supervision could be prioritized more effectively.

Conclusions: Group based strategies should monitor their potential reach based on who has been given the message. While only calling-in those under supervision can reach a large proportion of the gang, delivering the message to those not under supervision will likely be needed to reach 100% of the group.

Keywords: gangs, networks, focused-deterrence, call-ins, dominant-set

Suggested Citation

Wheeler, Andrew Palmer and McLean, Sarah J and Becker, Kelly J. and Worden, Robert E, Choosing Representatives to Deliver the Message in a Group Violence Intervention (March 16, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2934325

Andrew Palmer Wheeler (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences ( email )

P.O. Box 830688, GR 31
Richardson, TX 75083
United States

Sarah J McLean

John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety ( email )

423 New Karner Rd
Albany, NY 12205
United States

Kelly J. Becker

John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety ( email )

423 New Karner Rd
Albany, NY 12205
United States

Robert E Worden

John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety ( email )

423 New Karner Rd
Albany, NY 12205
United States

SUNY University at Albany ( email )

1400 Washington Avenue
Building, Room 109
Albany, NY 12222
United States

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