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Violence Research Centre


The Crime & Networks Group at the VRC is a group of researchers working on the application of social network analysis techniques to model and understand the mechanisms underpinning a range of illegal phenomena including violence, organised crime groups and illegal markets (e.g. drugs, human trafficking, migrant smuggling).



Group leader

Dr Paolo Campana, University Lecturer in Criminology and Complex Networks

Current PhD researchers

  • Sophie Dixon (child sexual exploitation networks)
  • Vincent Harinam (cybercrime networks)
  • Alyssa Knisley (youth violence networks)

International collaborators

  • Dr Alberto Caimo, School of Mathematical Science, Technological University Dublin (Ireland)
  • Dr Andrea Giovannetti, Economics, University of Technology Sidney (Australia)
  • Dr Isabella Gollini, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University College Dublin (Ireland)
  • Dr Nynke Niezink, Department of Statistics and Data Science, Carnegie Mellon University (United States).



Methodological notes

  • P. Campana and F. Varese (2020), “Studying organized crime networks: data sources boundaries and the limits of structural measures”. Social Networks, online first:
  • P. Campana (2016). "Explaining Criminal Networks: Strategies and Potential Pitfalls". Methodological Innovations, 9: 1-10 (full text at

  • P. Campana and F. Varese (2012). "Listening to the Wire: Criteria and techniques for the quantitative analysis of phone intercepts", Trends in Organized Crime, 15:1, 13-30.

Migrant smuggling

  • P. Campana (2018). “Out of Africa: The Organization of Migrant Smuggling Across the Mediterranean”, European Journal of Criminology, 15(4), 481-582.

Human trafficking

  • P. Campana (2016). "The structure of human trafficking: Lifting the bonnet on a Nigerian trafficking network". British Journal of Criminology, 56, 68-86.
  • P. Campana (2018). “Unravelling child trafficking routes”, N&V, Nature Sustainability, 1(5), 216-217.

Drug markets

  • L. Baika and P. Campana (2020). “Centrality, Mobility and Specialization: A Study of Drug Markets in a Non-metropolitan Area in the United Kingdom”. Journal of Drug Issues, 50:2, 107-216.   

Organised crime groups  

  • P. Campana and F. Varese (2013). "Cooperation in criminal organisations: Kinship and violence as credible commitments". Rationality and Society, 25(3): 263-289 (Italian translation: in M. Santoro, ed. 2015, Prospettive sulla criminalita' organizzata. Bologna: Il Mulino).

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