Workshop aims to give criminal justice professionals tools to reduce crime

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A social network analysis workshop aims to give criminal justice professionals tools to reduce crime.

Making social network analysis comprehensible and useable for police and others working to reduce violent crimes is the focus of a workshop that will take place on campus Aug. 11-12 at the Yale Institute for Network Science.

Titled “Social Network Analysis for Criminal Justice and Violence Prevention Practitioners,” the invitation-only event is designed to give police, crime analysts, criminal justice and violence prevention professionals a working knowledge of social network analysis as it applies to understanding gun violence in U.S. cities. Criminal justice professionals from more than a dozen cities across the United States as well as representatives from the Department of Justice and the FBI will attend the workshop. The event is hosted by Andrew Papachristos, associate professor in the Department of Sociology.

Software developed for Papachristos will be distributed for free to the participants. The software allows users to import standard data, such as arrest records, for the easy visualization and analysis of social networks. “The concepts of the software are intuitive,” notes Papachristos. “I want the people who attend the workshop to feel comfortable using their own data to gain a more complete picture of crime and violence in their community.”

“Network science helps practitioners explore patterns that explain not just which community is at risk but also who specifically, within that community, is likely to become a victim of crime,” says Papachristos.

The event will also feature several interactive modules that will demonstrate the basic computer, data, and analytic skills that are needed to integrate network analysis into the participants’ programmatic efforts.

“Networks are powerful,” says Papachristos, “One of the goals of this workshop is to empower the participants to use their own networks to diffuse the information learned at the workshop in order to help address crime and violence in their communities. I want them to understand these new technologies and incorporate them into their crime-reduction efforts. I hope to train the trainers.”

Papachristos’ research is funded in part by a Community Oriented Policing Strategy grant through the Department of Justice.

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