New Article Testing Plausible Mechanisms for the Contagion of Street Gang Violence by Dr. Matthew Valasik Published in Network Science

Dr. Matthew Valasik with Dr. Jason Gravel, Temple University, Dr. Joris Mulder, Tilburg University, Dr. Roger Leenders, Tilburg University, Dr. Carter Butts, University of California, Irvine, Dr. P. Jeffrey Brantingham, University of California, Los Angeles, and Dr. George E. Tita, University of California, Irvine, recently published “Rivalries, reputation, retaliation, and repetition: Testing plausible mechanisms for the contagion of violence between street gangs using relational event models” in Network Science. The utilizes relational event models (REMs) to examine gang violence’s tendency to replicate (e.g., retaliation) and to diffuse to other proximate gangs. Findings indicate that retaliation is an important mechanism for the replication of violence, however, long established rivalries and inertia (then tendency to carry on attacking the same gang) are more likely to drive future acts of gang violence. Additionally, street gangs are more likely to attack multiple gangs in quick progression, diffusing violence to other groups, potentially as a means of boosting internal group cohesion, solidarity, and overall excitement. Overall, interventions, particularly at the group-level, that target street gangs perpetrating a violent act, as opposed to the victim’s gang may be more effective at inhibiting the spread of gang violence to other groups.