CRG 49/16-17: Understanding the structure and composition of co-offending networks in Australia

Report to the Criminology Research Advisory Council

Much criminal offending is undertaken by two or more individuals acting collaboratively. Therefore, the study of co-offending patterns is critical to improving understanding of crime statistics, theories of crime and criminal careers, and estimating societal harms and the impact of policy interventions. Using techniques from social network analysis, this study uses arrest data for metropolitan Melbourne and Sydney to examine the structure of co-offending networks and whether patterns of co-offending vary according to crime type, number of co-offenders, duration of offending, and offender age and gender. The study also identifies implications for policy and law enforcement practice.