Peers, Groups, and Gangs Exam 2

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What are the four theoretical assumptions in the differential association theory?

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What are the four theoretical assumptions in the differential association theory?

1. Humans are inherently social

2. Normative conflict is in society

3. We follow the norms and values of our groups

4. Some groups promote deviant values

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Describe the breakdown of differential association theory

Differential = varying, association = connections, networks, this theory argues that the primary source of crime and delinquency lies in individual social networks

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What is the central and underlying idea of the differential association theory?

Criminal behavior is learned behavior

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How does the differential association theory explain that criminal behavior is learned behavior?

Argues that individuals who are differentially exposed to delinquent traits are more likely to be delinquent; not originally limited to peers, but that is the primary focus

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Who proposed the differential association theory?

Edwin Sutherland; disappointed with theoretical chaos of criminology and external criticism, inspired by theoretical advancements taking place at the University of Chicago, set out to propose a general theory of crime

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Where was the differential association theory published?

Principles of Criminology (1939, 1947); outlined his theory in nine propositions

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What are Sutherlands 9 propositions (1-4)?

1. Criminal behavior is learned

2. Criminal behavior is learned through communication with others

3. Learning criminal behavior occurs in intimate groups

4. Learning includes the techniques of committing the crime, and specific direction of motives, drives, rationalization and attitudes

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What are Sutherlands 9 propositions (5-9)?

5. motives and drives are learned from favorable or unfavorable legal codes

6. A person becomes criminal once rationale for breaking the law outweighs rationale for respecting it

7. Differential association varies in terms of frequency, duration, priority and intensity

8. Learning criminal behavior involves all the same mechanisms as learning anything else

9. Although criminal behavior is an expression of general needs and values, it isnt explained by them, non-criminal behavior is an expression of the same needs and values

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What are some ideas that prohibit crime?

Play fair, don't bully, forgive and forget, turn the other cheek, punish evil, honesty is the best policy

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What are some ideas that justify crime?

Drinking is okay, the end justifies the means, I don't get mad I get even, don't let people push you around, people should take drugs if they want to

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Crime occurs when people get an excess of definitions favorable to violation of law. How do people get this excess of definitions, as seen in proposition #6?

By having a higher ratio of delinquent peers/associations compared to non-delinquent peers/associations

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What are the four modalities of associations?

1. Frequency: how often

2. Duration: how long

3. Priority: when in life

4. Intensity: importance

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Breakdown the causal model

Differential association -> excess of pro-delinquency definitions -> delinquency

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Describe what the causal model means

Peers are the most influential; differential association changes your values, which leads to delinquency

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What are definitions?

Learning whether an act is good or bad ; the more we define an act as good, the more likely we'll do it and not engage in alternative behavior

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How did the differential association theory differ from other theories?

Contradicted other theories that emphasized hereditary + physiological factors; Sutherland said crime is learned through face-to-face interactions in small intimate groups

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What was the radical idea the differential association theory proposed?

Criminal behavior is learned the same way that ALL human behavior is learned; emphasized that criminals are people too and don't require a separate explanation

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Describe the support of the DA theory

Association between delinquent peers and delinquency is one of the strongest associations in research along with the fact that delinquency occurs in groups

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What are the difficulties regarding the DA theory and testing it?

"Definitions" are vague and hard to define (Sutherland didn't state what types of attitudes and beliefs were to be defined) & things like duration/priority were hard to define

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What did the DA theory lead to?

Burgess & Akers Social learning theory

emphasized relationship between behavior and reinforcement

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What is the central concept of the Social Learning Theory?

Positive, negative, and social reinforcement (perceived or actual) play a large role in criminal behavior

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The Social Learning Theory stresses the importance of interpersonal mechanisms of learning, what do these include?

- Imitation: modeling or mimicking behavior of others

- Vicarious reinforcement: observing how other people's behavior is rewarded (people getting status from offending)

- Direct reinforcement: money, admiration from friends, etc

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Regarding differential reinforcement, behavior is one of two things:

Strengthened by reward and avoidance of punishment OR weakened by aversive stimuli (pain by getting punched) and lack of reward

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In differential reinforcement, individuals look at the cumulative effect of (blank)

Anticipated/actual rewards and punishments in the past

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Rewards can either be (blank) or (blank)

Social (praise, respect) OR tangible (money, objects)

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What did Sykes and Matza observe about neutralization?

Delinquents express guilt

admire law-abiding individuals

some people are off-limits as victims

delinquents want to conform

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Individuals develop methods for deflecting guilt (techniques of neutralization) what are these?

1. Deny responsibility (it's his fault!)

2. Deny injury (no one got hurt, it was victimless, insurance will cover it)

3. Deny victim (he got what he deserved)

4. Condemn condemners (police speed all the time)

5. Appeal to higher authorities (blame on religion)

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How have empirical estimates varied regarding how common co-offending is?

Early estimates said rates of co-offending were high (70-80%), but have recently been lower (30-50%)

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Why is there variation between whether people co-offend or not?

Different definitions of co-offending

variation in types of data

studies being taken in different place, times, and samples

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How does co-offending affect the validity of crime statistics?

impacts the Estimates of:

age-crime curve

crime clearance

dark figure of offending

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Describe the size of co-offending groups

Majority of co-offenses involve only two offenders, and prevalence decreases as size increases

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Describe the composition of co-offending groups

Often structured by homophily (similar age, sex, ethnicity, place of residence, criminal experience) which means selection plays a significant role in co-offending

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Co-offending varies in particular by...

Sex, race, ethnicity, age, criminal experience

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When is co-offending the most common?

At the onset of the criminal career and decreases as offenders gain criminal experience, regardless of age

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How do co-offenders vary by gender?

Female offenders are slightly more likely to co-offend than male offenders, although the magnitude of the difference is small

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Female rates of co-offending are higher across every major offense except for (blank)

Sex offending

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Females have roughly (blank)% higher odds of co-offending


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Why are females more likely to co-offend than men?

Females are more socially oriented than men, more susceptible to peer pressure, and men may pull women into co-offending

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What differences do men have regarding co-offending?

- Tend to offend in larger groups

- Co-offend with other men

- View other male co-offenders as more confident or able

- More frequently tied to co-offenders from the same neighborhood

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What differences do women have regarding co-offending?

- Typically offend in pairs or small groups

- Co-offend more often in mixed-sex groups

- Slightly less likely to report instigating crime

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Describe the studies on co-offending variation by race

Significantly understudied regarding co-offending

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Describe co-offending variation by race

Black offenders are slightly more likely to co-offend than white offenders

white offenders are more likely to offend in pairs and black offenders are more likely to offend in large groups

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How does race play an important role in co-offender selection?

Different races are unlikely to commit crime together

(less than 6% groups are mixed-race + choosing someone of same race is 3x higher than random selection)

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What is the strongest offender-related correlate of co-offending?

The age of the offender

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Describe co-offending variation by age

Young people are more likely than adults to commit crime in groups + offend with more co-offenders than older offenders

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When does the age/co-offending curve rise?

In early adolescence, peaks in mid-late teens, and decreases after

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What is the explanation for co-offending variation by age?

Changes in population (co-offenders stop while solo offenders don't)

behavioral changes within offenders (want to commit crimes alone)

variations in peer influence

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What are the three perspectives on co-offending?

1. Co-offending is the result of peer/group influence

2. Co-offending is the result of social selection

3. Co-offending is an instrumental or rational choice

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What did Shaw and McKay argue that delinquency was the result of?

Group influence because offending is transmitted among young people (Sidney Blotzman learned from older + experienced offenders)

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What did Warr argue regarding the cause of co-offending?

The social nature of crime

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Breakdown the causal model of peer or group influence

Individual membership in a delinquent peer group -> exposure to delinquent peer influence -> co-offending with others from group

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Many argue that co-offending is the result of social selection. What do they say?

Kornhauser says co-offending isn't important because adolescents do everything in groups

Stolzenburg & D’Alesso say co-offending is "theoretically inconsequential"

basically: co-offending is a byproduct of offenders who associate together and spend a lot of time in groups

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Breakdown the causal model of social selection

Other processes create motivated offenders -> offenders socialize in groups and spend time with offenders -> individuals co-offend because they are together when a criminal opportunity emerges

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Rational choice theorists argue that co-offending is an instrumental or rational choice...what do these theorists say?

Offender decision-making is a based upon rational calculations of the expected rewards and costs of certain actions

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Breakdown the causal model of instrumental or rational choice

Motivated offenders -> rational decision-making process where individuals weigh the advantages and costs of co-offending -> individuals co-offend when the advantages of doing so outweigh the costs

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How can co-offending be seen as a social exchange, according to Weerman?

Co-offending can be analyzed as an event where goods are exchanged between offenders; explains why people co-offend, variations, and regularities (based on social exchange theory from sociology and psychology)

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What are "exchange goods" that Weerman discusses in the social exchange theory?

May be material or immaterial; share in gains (money), social approval, acceptance

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How do rewards have a role in co-offending, according to Weerman and the social exchange theory?

People co-offend because it is a way of obtaining rewards that cannot be otherwise obtained by solo offending; as a result, co-offending can occur even when it is not necessary, or the most efficient way, for committing a crime

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What are the six types of exchange goods?

Services (help during the offense/being a lookout)

payment (material rewards as payment for service)

catch (share in the money)

appreciation (praise for offense)

acceptance (status and respect for offender)

information (knowledge about capacities of co-offenders)

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Based on exchange goods, Weerman identifies four different forms of co-offending, what are they?

1. Instrumental (services -> payment)

2. Strategic (obtain important information like crime techniques)

3. Quasi-instrumental (impress each other w skills to be a part of the group)

4. Expressive (co-offending only when social rewards are involved, like vandalism)

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Co-offending may be (blank) or (blank), depending on exchange goods?

Unequal or equal

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What conditions does Weerman identify are needed to make co-offending possible?

1. Offenders must be willing to co-offend

2. One or more co-offenders must be available and accessible (regular meeting places and large networks)

3. Offenders need to convince others that they are worthy and useful to co-offend with

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Co-offending influences offender decision-making in many ways. What questions do criminologists have about co-offending?

How do co-offenders find each other?

How is co-offending initiated?

How does co-offending impact decision-making during an offense?

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What are the two theories regarding how co-offenders find each other?

1. Tremblay's theory of searching for suitable co-offenders

2. Felson's theory of co-offender convergence settings

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What does Tremblay say regarding his theory of searching for suitable co-offenders?

Acts of crime are possible when an offender finds another suitable offender that can be trusted and provide necessary services

availability of co-offenders is structured by social circumstances like neighborhoods, unemployment, prison time

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What are the two main criteria for deciding whether co-offenders are suitable (according to Tremblay)?

- Trustworthiness

- Usefulness among large accomplice network

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Within Tremblay's theory, it's hard to achieve trustworthiness and usefulness, as a result, most offenders adopt 3 strategies for finding co-offenders...what are these strategies?

1. Exclusive Strategy

2. Mixed Strategy

3. Avoidance Strategy

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What is the exclusive strategy in Tremblay's theory?

Offenders choose one type of network and concentrate on establishing strong bonds with trustworthy others or getting a large social network with more useful co-offenders

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What is the mixed strategy in Tremblay's theory?

Offenders try to develop a few strong relationships, as well as several weak ties

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What is the avoidance strategy in Tremblay's theory?

Offenders avoid these issues by committing offenses alone

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Describe Felson's approach to co-offending

Draws on routine activities approach and emphasizes importance of meeting places for offenders

"convergence settings" are places that facilitate co-offenders networking and increasing offending rates

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What is the basic assumption of Felson's convergence theory?

Access to accomplices is criminogenic; when offenders get together they will influence others to break the law, learn practical skills from each other, and access to accomplices is necessary when an offender needs help

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What are the three requirements for a convergence setting?

1. Co-offenders need to get together at the same place and time

2. Potential offenders must be able to interact with each other without interference

3. Potential offenders need to have substantial time to socialize with each other (screening is a slow process)

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Convergence settings need to be (blank) and (blank)

Stable and predictable (like streets and street corners, bars, etc)

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Co-offending is initiated through three general styles of initiation, which are..?

1. Establishing identity

2. Incremental signaling

3. Target convergence

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Describe an "Establishing Identity" initiation

A group identity where members are oriented toward criminal participation; group members know others by experience or reputation, and know they are willing to offend; occurs most often among those with established reputations, group interaction may begin with potential crime as a goal

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Describe an "Incremental Signaling" initiation

Small actions made intentionally in order to alter situations and perceptions until crime is attractive; when offenders are unsure of other's objectives, they use signals to negotiate potential crime (when an offender makes a move toward crime, they see if others are receptive through their reactions)

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Describe the timeline of "Incremental Signaling Process"

- Begins ambiguously but escalates quickly (member mentions a need for money)

- Participant mentions a crime or target (referred to as a keynote)

- Offenders build up confidence through talking it up

- Conversations are short and criminal consent comes at the last minute

- Crime occurs

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What is a keynote?

An exploratory directive that resonates with those group members thinking along similar lines, but who are still considering multiple options; turns hypothetical target to real

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Describe a "Target Convergence" initiation

Near-instantaneous decision to co-offend based on spontaneous presentation and recognition of an appealing target

offenders co-offend with little/no communication

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Reiss and Farrington argue that within offenders, there are high-rate offenders who are recruiters, what did they say?

Recruiters initiate offenses with less or non-experienced co-offenders, theorized that these recruiters may get others involved in crime that would typically never, applied Moffit's developmental taxonomy

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What are the two aspects of Moffit's developmental taxonomy?

- Life-course persistent (LCP) offenders are recruiters

- Adolescent-limited (AL) offenders are joiners

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Although Reiss and Farrington argued the significance of recruiters, Warr argued that the organization of co-offending is more dynamic and situational. What did Warr argue?

Co-offenders may act as instigators or joiners depending on the situation; instigators of co-offending do not have stable personality traits

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Describe the concept of criminal tutelage

Offenders may co-offend to get on-the-job training; having a mentor increases criminal success

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Co-offending is collective behavior. What does this mean?

When engaged in collective behavior, people will commit acts that they never would've if they were alone

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What is deindividuation?

A psychological state that appears when individuals participate in groups, where they feel submerged in a group, resulting in a reduction of inner restraints against behavior that would ordinarily be impermissible

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Deindividuation occurs as a result of what two mechanisms?

1. Anonymity

2. Diffusion of responsibility

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Describe anonymity

Fear of observation and detection is reduced in groups of people (most in large groups like riots)

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Describe diffusion of responsibility

people interpret crime through a moral lens, offenders are aware of moral implications and these function as a barrier to criminal behavior

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What kind of shift occurs when there is a diffusion of responsibility?

Risky shift; groups tend to make riskier or more extreme decisions than individuals; having even 1 co-offender allows individuals to shift blame to others

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What example of diffusion of responsibility did we discuss in class?

Kitty Genovese; those who otherwise would object to crime because of moral boundaries, the co-offending group can remove that barrier

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How are groups seen as moral universe?

Groups create their own moral universe and define what is acceptable behavior within their own self-contained social system; nullify cultural definitions that exist outside the group

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What is intergroup relativism of moral codes?

What is permissible in one group may not be appropriate in another

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How are co-offenses linked based on the common offenders in each group?

Through bipartite or two-mode networks

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Describe bipartite and two-mode networks

nodes are classified into offenders and incidents; line/edges exist only between classes, also known as affiliation network and shows how individuals are affiliated to criminal events

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After mapping out co-offending networks, theories and techniques of social network analysis are used to do what?

Analyze these networks in order to identify static and dynamic structures; identify structural features of co-offending networks

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What are the various structural features of co-offending networks that research has found?

- Co-offending does not necessarily have to be of interest itself

- Used as evidence of connections among offenders

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A central question in the study of organized crime and criminal markets is (blank)

Criminal performance or achievement

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What factors affect the likelihood and degree of success of individuals and groups in their criminal activities?

Nonredundancy and brokerage

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Describe nonredundancy

Sparse connections between cohesive subgroups in co-offending networks can create nonredundancy in some individuals' own ego-networks

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