U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

A Social Network Analysis of Chronic Violent Offenders

NCJ Number
American Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: Online Dated: Jun 2024
Davis Shelfer; Yan Zhang
Date Published
June 2024

This paper reports on a social network analysis of more than 2,000 people who were arrested multiple times for a violent crime between 2014 and 2022, in an effort to examine co-offending relationships, the relationship of crime and demographics, and characteristics of networked and non-networked chronic violent offenders; it also presents implications for policymakers and researchers.


Research indicates that a majority of serious crime events are committed by a small proportion of repeat offenders. Many chronic offenders collaborate with others, co-offending on an irregular basis or as part of an organized gang. Understanding the characteristics of these offenders and their criminality has significant implications for our understanding of chronic violence and the implementation of successful, evidence-based crime prevention efforts. To contribute to this ongoing effort, the authors apply social network analysis (SNA) to a sample of 2,217 people arrested more than once for a violent crime between 2014 and 2022. They explore co-offending relationships, investigating differences in demographics and crime characteristics between networked and non-networked chronic violent offenders. The results of this exploratory study indicate significant differences in age and crime type by network status. This analysis also indicates that SNA is an effective method for exploring co-offending in a general-purpose crime dataset. Implications for policymakers and future directions for research are presented. (Published Abstract Provided)