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Brokerage Qualifications in Ringing Operations

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 46 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2008 Pages: 71-98
Carlo Morselli; Julie Roy
Date Published
February 2008
28 pages
This analysis of a criminal venture (the resale of stolen vehicles or "ringing networks") is done within a framework that focuses on the criminal decisionmaking process ("crime script") and the structure embedding it ("social network").
The study shows that even in the operations of loosely structured criminal group ventures, such as ringing networks, centralization is an important component of the operation, even though actors in the network are dispersed in their criminal operations. "Brokers" are the directors who coordinate the various "scenes" of the crime script, giving the operation flexibility and creativity in dealing with and avoiding problems. The brokers in the crime script were pivotal for increasing the number of options that the criminal network had for executing the various scenes and for achieving a common objective. Without the broker, there would be no coordinated action and decisionmaking in linking the various phases and components of the criminal operation. Based on these findings, an important challenge for social-networking analysts committed to disrupting covert or criminal networks through the removal of central participants of various kinds would be to determine whether a fragment from a newly broken network still contained all the necessary scenes for the crime-commission script to remain functioning. The data sources for the ringing operations analyzed in this study were obtained within a larger investigative setting. Between 1993 and 2005, a tandem task force was united under Project CERVO. The main objective of this task force was to monitor and control the exportation of stolen luxury vehicles from the Port of Montreal (Canada). Cooperation between law enforcement and border/insurance agencies was the unique feature, with the latter supplying documents from maritime shipping companies that contained information on suspect cargo and on the identities of individuals or enterprises involved in their transportation. 3 tables, 2 figures, and 46 references