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Networks of crime and terrorism

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

Crime and terrorism take a heavy toll on society and there is still little consensus on how to fight these phenomena most effectively. Yet the dynamics in criminal and terrorist networks show many characteristics of complex adaptive systems. 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 and terrorist activity by disentangling the complexity of the ‘system’.

Using models to predict and mitigate criminal and terrorist activity

The goal of this research programme is to develop predictive agent-based and network models that will allow better recognition of early warning signals to better anticipate criminal and terrorist activities. With our models we also aim to assess the effect of current intervention strategies and explore potential alternative forms of intervention.

Scientific Lead

Tom van Engers

Professor of Legal Knowledge Management, University of Amsterdam

Tom van Engers

My work in the field of artificial intelligence and law goes back to 1983. My recent research is on effectiveness of policies, regulations, compliance monitoring and enforcement mechanisms in societies of agents. My particular interest is in adaptive behavior of such regulated societies.

Research fellows

Ana Isabel Barros

Will work with other researchers to increase her understanding of mechanisms driving agents’ behavior in criminal activity, and assess the potential of creating a simulation model for non-compliant, criminal behaviour.

Paul Duijn

Will work on the following research question during his fellowship: what is the complex adaptive reality behind organised crime networks and how can we anticipate to detect and disrupt them effectively?

More information

To find out more about this research theme, or discuss getting involved, contact Tom van Engers.

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

Faculty of Law

Information Law