The Efficiency/Security Trade-Off in Criminal Networks
Social Networks, Forthcoming
11 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2006
A consistent trade-off facing participants in any criminal network is that between organizing for efficiency or security - participants collectively pursue an objective while keeping the action leading to that goal concealed. Which side of the trade-off is prioritized depends on the objective that is pursued by the criminal group. The distinction is most salient when comparing terrorist with criminal enterprise networks. Terrorist networks are ideologically driven, while criminal enterprises pursue monetary ends. Time-to-task is more of a priority in the criminal enterprise and group efficiency is therefore prioritized over group security. Terrorist networks, in contrast, have longer horizons and security is prioritized over the execution of any single attack. Using Krebs' exploratory research on networks of terrorist cells and electronic surveillance transcripts of a drug importation network, a series of analyses demonstrate how these opposing trade-offs are illustrated in criminal group structures.
Keywords: criminal network, terrorism, drug trafficking, efficiency, security
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