Applying Group Audits to Problem-Oriented Policing


Michael Sierra-Arévalo and Andrew V. Papachristos

Full citation: 
Sierra-Arévalo, M. and A.V. Papachristos (2015) Applying Group Audits to Problem-Oriented Policing, in Bichler, Gisela and Aili E. Malm (eds.), Disrupting Criminal Networks: Network Analysis in Crime Prevention. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner.
Excerpt: Over the past decade, a data collection procedure called the group or gang audit has been developed for use in focused deterrence policing and violence prevention initiatives. Group audits extract this type of experiential, ―on the ground intelligence through focus-group style working sessions with law enforcement and other gang ―experts, such as case workers or members of community organizations. The information obtained through the audit lends itself to use in social network analysis, which is itself particularly useful for linking individual stores of knowledge in order to examine patterns of the whole… This chapter describes the audit process, how it relates to focused-deterrence strategies and social network analysis, and in what ways the group audit, in conjunction with social network analysis, can support and strengthen violence reduction initiatives. We begin by briefly reviewing the audit process, paying particular attention to systematic methods of relational data gathering and analysis. We then summarize the findings from audits in New Haven and demonstrate how the analysis of the networks among violent groups can address some definitional problems surrounding groups and gangs, as well as provide unique insight into groups and their relationships.
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