Anagraphical relationships and crime specialization within Cosa Nostra

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Abstract

The aim of the present work is to investigate the relationships established within Cosa Nostra, by making use of networks and complex-systems methods. The analysis is performed at three different levels, that is, individuals, groups within mafia syndicates, and relationships amongst mafia syndicates. The reported empirical analysis is based on the criminal records of 632 affiliates to Cosa Nostra selected from a set of 125 judgements emitted by the Palermo courts from 2000 to 2014. According to the criminal records of the Palermo Prosecutor Office, such a dataset includes approximately 10% of the whole population of Cosa Nostra affiliates in western Sicily. Furthermore, the vital statistics of 235 subjects sentenced for mafia crimes and the one of their relatives complemented the database that, overall, includes about 4000 subjects. Our results show that mafia syndicates are not specialized in terms of criminal activity, rather they show a strong territorial attachment and are involved in heterogeneous criminal activities. Since syndicates insist on a delimited territory, young affiliates are selected on a territorial basis according to the significance and variety of their past criminal activity. Once inside a syndicate, affiliates tend to specialize in a few criminal activities, depending on their attitudes and the needs of the organization. Finally, despite the fact that the vast majority of mafia affiliates are males, our results highlight that female subjects are crucial to form and consolidate alliances between mafia syndicates through suitable marriages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-41
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Networks
Volume64
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)

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