Neighborhood co-offending networks, structural embeddedness, and violent crime in Chicago

Sara Bastomski*, Noli Brazil, Andrew V. Papachristos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Neighborhood disparities in crime are a persistent feature of U.S. cities. Scholars have documented that both local structural conditions and characteristics of spatially proximate communities influence neighborhood crime rates. Previous studies on neighborhood inequality in crime, however, are limited by their focus on identifying average spillover effects between pairs of spatially contiguous neighborhoods, and have neglected to consider how the broader social organization of the city influences local outcomes. This study examines the role of neighborhood-level criminal networks in shaping the distribution of crime throughout cities. Employing arrest records and survey data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, we construct a neighborhood-level co-offending network for Chicago for 2001. We use this network to investigate how a focal neighborhood's homicide rate is influenced by its structural embeddedness within the larger inter-neighborhood co-offending network. Results indicate that a neighborhood's embeddedness increases the local homicide rate, even after controlling for the neighborhood's internal propensity toward crime and accounting for unobserved spatial processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-39
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Networks
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Community structure
  • Crime
  • Neighborhoods
  • Network structure
  • Social influence model
  • Spatial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology


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