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Research

Complexity & Resilience of Organised Crime Systems

To what extent are current judicial and other instruments sufficient to effectively combat crime in its diverse forms? At the IAS we aim to develop models that can help to understand the resilience of organised crime and to assess the effect of current intervention strategies and - together with law enforcement agencies - explore potential new approaches.

Crime takes a heavy toll on society and there is still little consensus on how to fight these phenomena most effectively. Yet the dynamics in criminal networks show many characteristics of complex adaptive systems, such as self-organisation and extreme resilience. Drawing on expertise from a range of disciplines, from criminology and law to sociology, computational science and artificial intelligence, we can begin to understand the patterns behind criminal activity by disentangling the complexity of this resilient ‘system’.

The goal of this research programme is to develop computational models that will allow anticipating criminal activities and to assess the effect of possible intervention against criminal activity strategies as well to explore potential alternative interventions.

Projects

Modelling opponent emergent behaviour (MOEB)
This joint research project at IAS and TNO aims to identify and understand the underlying processes that yield the adaptivity and resilience of insurgent and terrorist organisations. We observe and try to understand the emergent patterns of growth, decline, splits and mergers between insurgents and terrorists. The organisations can be described and analysed as complex, self-organized structures that inhabit social interactions, resource constraints and cognitive processes. To grasp this self-organizing process, we focus on various research lines with the application of quantitative methodologies that aim to develop more realistic models.

Criminal networks and value chains
In this project, networks of organised crime are interpreted and modelled as self-organising systems. ‘Agents’ will be characterised by for example their interests, mutual trust, and capabilities. The team aims to model the adaptation of the networks, and to identify the information and money flows that run through the networks. Visualisation methods will be used to easily engage analysts of law enforcement in the project, and jointly develop novel analysis methods.

UvA Researchers

mr. dr. drs. J.E.B. (Jill) Coster van Voorhout PhD

Faculty of Law

Criminal Law

prof. dr. T.M. (Tom) van Engers

Faculty of Law

Prof. Z.J.M.H. (Zeno) Geradts

Faculty of Science

Informatics Institute

prof. dr. mr. M.E. (Miranda) de Meijer

Faculty of Law

Criminal Law

dr. R. (Rick) Quax

Faculty of Science

Informatics Institute

Mr K. (Koen) van der Zwet MSc

Faculty of Science

Informatics Institute

Affiliated external researchers

Dr. Ana Isabel Barros

Principal researcher, TNO
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Dr. Paul Duijn

Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Fiscal Intelligence and Investigations Service (FIOD)
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