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Interactive Dashboard: Criminal Dynamics in Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

28 JAN 2021 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

This interactive dashboard aims to map Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) in the Northern Triangle (NT) of Central America and the Tri-Border Area (TBA) between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Users can view an interactive map showing a total of six countries and 39 border provinces/departments, where InSight Crime has gathered information on criminal economies, the presence of transnational criminal actors and homicides rates. Reports on the relationship between crime and corruption in these border territories can also be downloaded.

The Latin America Transnational Organized Crime Index (LATOCI) serves as the dashboard’s methodology -- an expert assessment based on available open-source data and InSight Crime’s investigative field work. The LATOCI maps and measures TOC in countries throughout Latin America and assesses each nation’s capacity to confront the criminal challenges it faces.

The aim of LATOCI is to provide data and analysis for the development of policy against transnational organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean.

For this report, we only focused on the two regions mentioned above, and we combined LATOCI with a qualitative analysis, based on InSight Crime's previous work and experience.

The qualifications presented in this dashboard are the result of this combined methodology.

Categories Analyzed

For this dashboard, two parts of the LATOCI methodology were used as categories of analysis: criminal economies and criminal actors present in NT and TBA countries. In light of the overlap between TOC and homicides, homicide rates are also presented in the six countries and 39 border provinces in the two sub-regions.

How We Did It

The LATOCI methodology is based on five data sets that, when analyzed together, provide the most complete image of TOC in the region. LATOCI considers all quantitative and qualitative information available in: 1) national and international sources; 2) media reports; 3) academic publications; 4) interviews with experts on each topic; and 5) information gathered during InSight Crime's fieldwork.

The quantitative and qualitative information is processed in different analysis matrices, following a working protocol that involves several stages.[1]

First, the researcher will collect all available quantitative and qualitative data pertaining to the first three data sets -- international and national sources, academic publications, and press monitoring.

Second, the researcher will identify any gaps and fill them with data from expert interviews.

Third, the researcher will analyze the information and draw preliminary conclusions for each indicator and for the variable as a whole.

Fourth, and most importantly, field research will then corroborate and complement the data, or contradict the initial conclusions.

Transnational Criminal Economies

This part of the index analyses eight criminal economies with transnational reach, evaluating their relevance in each country based on an assessment of how lucrative and attractive the market is and its ability to corrupt the state. We will also measure how TOC threatens legal economies.

In the first phase of the LATOCI methodology, the following eight criminal economies were chosen for analysis: cocaine, cannabis, opiates, human trafficking and human smuggling, arms trafficking, mineral resources and environmental crimes.

Other economies that are less transnational in nature, such as kidnappings, theft, extortion and black-market retail, are not part of the analysis matrices.

However, in light of each sub-region’s characteristics, extortion and contraband smuggling do form part of the project’s qualitative analysis. 

Cocaine Trafficking

The production, transit and distribution of cocaine will be analyzed within this variable, with the aim of measuring the amount of money that the cocaine economy leaves behind in each country of analysis.

Data collection for cocaine trafficking focuses on three types of countries:

  1. Producer nations: countries where drugs are cultivated, in this case where coca crops are grown.
  2. Transit nations: countries that serve as a waypoint for cocaine bound for other locations.
  3. Consumer nations: countries where cocaine is purchased for consumption.

Producer Nations

To estimate cocaine trafficking earnings for production countries, two indicators will be considered:

  • Total cocaine production per year (metric tons): i.e. the amount of cocaine the country of analysis can potentially produce annually.
  • Wholesale price of cocaine in the country of analysis (USD/metric ton): i.e. the wholesale price in US dollars of one metric ton of cocaine.

Transit Nations

To estimate the value of cocaine trafficking for a transit country, several indicators will be taken into account:

  • Total amount of cocaine that transits through the country in a year (metric tons): i.e. the amount of cocaine passing through the country of analysis annually.
  • Wholesale price of cocaine in the transit country (USD/metric ton): i.e. the wholesale price of cocaine in the country of analysis.
  • Total seizures in the country per year (metric tons): i.e. the amount of cocaine seized by authorities annually.
  • The proportion that seizures represent of the total amount of cocaine transiting through the country: i.e. what percentage do seizures represent of the total amount of cocaine transiting through the country of analysis?

Consumer Nations

To estimate the value of cocaine trafficking for a consumer country, the researcher will find information on the following indicators:

  • Number of cocaine users in the country: i.e. how many people have consumed cocaine in the previous year in the country of analysis? Often, this is presented as the percentage of the population that has consumed cocaine in the last year.
  • Retail price of cocaine in the country (USD/gram): i.e. the street value of cocaine in the country of analysis.
  • Average consumption per year per person (grams): i.e. how much cocaine is consumed annually, on average, per cocaine consumer in the country?
  • National approximate cocaine consumption (grams): i.e. the approximate amount of cocaine consumed annually in the country.
  • Total amount of cocaine that supplies domestic drug consumption (grams): i.e. the amount of cocaine within the country's domestic drug consumption market.

Cannabis Trafficking

Cannabis trafficking is a lucrative business for criminal groups throughout South America. The aim of this variable is to measure the amount of money that the cannabis economy leaves behind in each country of analysis.

To avoid confusion, we will not distinguish between different types of cannabis (marijuana, hashish and hashish oil) when estimating the earnings generated by this criminal economy.

Data collection for cannabis trafficking focuses on two types of countries: source/supply nations and consumer nations.[2]

  1. Source/supply nations: countries where cannabis is cultivated or in transit before reaching its final destination.
  2. Consumer nations: countries where cannabis is consumed.

Source/Supply Nations

To estimate cannabis trafficking earnings for source-supply countries, information will be collected on five indicators:

  • Hectares of cannabis per year (ha): i.e. the total amount of cannabis crops and plants grown in the country annually.
  • Figures of cannabis eradication per year (ha): i.e. the amount of cannabis eradicated annually in the country of analysis.
  • Seizures of cannabis (metric tons): i.e. the amount of reported cannabis seizures per year.
  • Yield of cannabis per hectare (metric tons/ha): i.e. how much cannabis can be obtained from one hectare of crops.
  • Wholesale price of cannabis in the country of analysis (USD/metric ton): i.e. the wholesale price of cannabis in the country of analysis.

Consumer Nations

To measure the criminal earnings generated by cannabis consumption in the country, information will be gathered on the following indicators:

  • Number of cannabis users in the country: i.e. how many people consume cannabis? Often, this is presented as the percentage of the population that has consumed cannabis in the last year.
  • Average consumption per person per year (grams): i.e. how much cannabis is consumed annually, on average, per cannabis consumer in the country?
  • National approximate cannabis consumption (grams): i.e. the total amount of cannabis consumed annually in the country.
  • Total amount of cannabis that supplies domestic drug consumption: i.e. the total amount of cannabis within the country's domestic drug consumption market.
  • Retail price of cannabis in the country (USD/gram): i.e. the street value of cannabis in the country of analysis.

Opiates Trafficking

The world is currently experiencing a deadly opiates crisis, partially fueled by criminal groups that traffic drugs like heroin and fentanyl from Latin America to North America and beyond. The production, transit and distribution of opiates will be analyzed within this variable, with the aim of measuring the amount of money that opiate trafficking leaves behind in each country of analysis.

Data collection for opiates trafficking focuses on three types of countries:

  1. Producer nations: countries where poppy crops are grown.
  2. Transit nations: countries that are transit points for opiates bound for other destinations.
  3. Consumer nations: countries where opiates are consumed.

Producer Nations

To estimate opiates trafficking earnings for producer countries, information will be collected on two indicators:

  • Total opiates production per year (metric tons): i.e. how much heroin/fentanyl/other opiates are produced in the country of analysis each year?
  • Wholesale price of opiates (heroin) in the country of analysis (USD/metric ton): i.e. the wholesale price of heroin in the country of analysis.

Transit Nations

To estimate the value of opiates (heroin) trafficking for a transit nation, the researcher will collect information on several indicators:

  • Total amount of opiates (heroin) that transit through the country annually (metric tons): i.e. the quantity of opiates (heroin) that passes through the country of analysis each year.
  • Prices of opiates (heroin) (USD/metric ton): i.e. the wholesale price of opiates (heroin) in the country of analysis.
  • Total seizures in the country per year (metric tons): i.e. what quantity of opiates (heroin/fentanyl/others) did authorities seize in the previous year?
  • The proportion that seizures represent of the total amount of opiates (heroin) that transit through the country: i.e. what percentage do seizures represent of the total amount of opiates transiting through the nation annually?

Consumer Nations

To estimate the value of opiates trafficking for a consumer country, the researcher will find information on the following indicators:

  • Number of opiate users in the country: i.e. how many people consume opiates (heroin/others)? This is often presented as the percentage of the population that has consumed drugs over the last year in the country of analysis.
  • Retail price of opiates in the country (USD/gram): i.e. the street value of opiates in the country of analysis.
  • Average consumption per year per person (grams):i.e. the quantity of opiates consumed annually, on average, per consumer in the country.
  • National approximate opiates consumption (grams): i.e. the approximate quantity of heroin/fentanyl/other opiates consumed annually in the country.
  • Total amount of opiates that supply domestic drug consumption:i.e. the amount of opiates within the country's domestic drug consumption market.

Human Smuggling

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the smuggling of migrants “is a crime involving the procurement for financial or other material benefit of illegal entry of a person into a State of which that person is not a national or resident.”[3]

The human smuggling industry is mostly controlled by criminal networks which transport individuals across borders without the required documentation in exchange for a fee. In contrast to human trafficking, where the victims are lured with trickery or coerced,[4]the smuggling of humans is characterized by the consent of the individual being smuggled.

The aim of this index is to measure the amount of money that the human smuggling economy leaves behind in each country of analysis.

To estimate human smuggling earnings for the country of analysis, the researcher must look for information on the following four indicators:

  • Number of smuggled migrants per year: i.e. the number of individuals who entered the country of analysis without the necessary documentation and having voluntarily paid a third party to facilitate the process.
  • Number of reported irregular migrants per year: i.e. the number of individuals who migrated to the country of analysis "outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and receiving countries.’’ (It has been shown that a clear majority of irregular migrants do in fact use smugglers.)
  • Proportion of smuggled migrants to irregular migrants within the country of analysis per year: i.e. the number of migrants that paid to be smuggled to or from the country of analysis as a proportion of the total number of irregular migrants in that country during a given year. The percentage will be used as an adjuster for the indicator "number of reported irregular migrants per year.’’ (If no data is available, the researcher can use a default adjuster provided by UNODC, which estimates that 80 to 95 percent of reported irregular migrants in Central America and Mexico hire smugglers for transportation;[5]a similar trend can be observed worldwide).[6]
  • Average price of a smuggling trip offered within the country of analysis (USD): i.e. the price that smugglers charge to migrants for their entire trip.
  • Apprehensions for illegal border crossings: i.e. arrests of foreigners attempting to cross a border without the necessary documentation, in violation of the country’s immigration laws.
  • Number of immigrants living illegally in the country: i.e. the number of unauthorized immigrants living in the country as a percentage of the total population.

Human Trafficking

According to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, human trafficking can be defined as:

“[T]he recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat, use of force or other means of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the receiving or giving of payment ... to a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”

For the purposes of our research, the various forms of human trafficking (sexual exploitation, labor exploitation, etc.) will be viewed as a single criminal economy.

Data collection for human trafficking focuses on two types of countries:

  1. Recruitment nations: countries where victims are initially identified and recruited by traffickers.
  2. Exploitation nations: countries to which victims are transported in order to be exploited.

Recruitment Nations

To estimate earnings from human trafficking for recruitment countries, information will be gathered on two indicators:

  • Number of national victims:i.e. how many national victims are there in the country of analysis? (To correct for underreporting, we will multiply the number of reported cases by 20, as per UNODC investigations).
  • Price per victim at the recruitment stage: i.e. the total amount of money illegal actors can earn from each recruited victim before exploitation. In other words, the price paid by the trafficking organization to the recruiter.

Exploitation Nations

To estimate earnings from human trafficking in exploitation countries, the researcher will find information on two indicators:

  • Number of victims: i.e. the number of foreign human trafficking victims exploited in the country of analysis, based on reported cases.
  • Earnings per victim when exploited: i.e. the total amount of money generated by the physical exploitation of the victims in the country of analysis.

Arms Trafficking

The Oxford Handbook of Organized Crime describes arms trafficking as follows: “The trade in arms becomes arms trafficking when the deals undertaken violate existing laws on the movement of arms. These laws usually take the form of domestic licensing requirements or international arms embargoes.”

Throughout Latin America, the illegal arms trade has fueled regional conflicts and allowed criminal groups to gain power and income. The aim of this analysis is to measure the amount of money that the arms trafficking economy leaves behind in each country of analysis.

Data collection for arms trafficking focuses on two types of countries: supply nations and consumer nations:

  1. Supply nations: countries where arms are sourced by traffickers, for domestic use or to be smuggled to other countries.
  2. Consumer nations: countries where illegal arms are purchased and used.

LATOCI combines source and transit nations in the supply category, due to the frequent complexity of separating the two stages.

Only small arms and light weapons are analyzed -- collectively referred to as “firearms" -- as these are most commonly seized from criminal groups. Seizure data does not always identify specific weapon types, therefore we will use four categories for identifying firearms: revolvers and pistols; rifles and carbines; machine guns and submachine guns; and shotguns.

Supply Nations

To estimate arms trafficking earnings for supply countries, information will be gathered on four indicators:

  • Arms seizures per year: i.e. the number of arms in each weapon category seized by authorities in the country of analysis.
  • The proportion that seizures represent of the total amount of illegal arms circulating in the country: i.e. what percentage do seizures represent of the total amount of illegal firearms in circulation in the country of analysis?
  • Average price of each weapon category within the country of analysis (USD/firearm): i.e. the price of firearms within the country of analysis at the supply stage. (If there is no available data for a specific weapon category, the researcher will use the average of the three other weapons category prices.)
  • Number of weapons reported as stolen or lost from government security forces: i.e. the number of weapons circulating on the black market in the country of analysis that were leaked/stolen from state stockpiles.

Consumer Nations

To measure the criminal earnings generated by the consumption of arms in each country, the researcher will gather information on the following indicators:

  • Number of arms seized in the country of analysis from criminal groups: i.e. the number of arms seized by authorities directly from criminal groups during the year of analysis.
  • Average price of each weapon category within country of analysis (USD): i.e. the price of arms in each weapon category paid by consumers in the country of analysis.
  • Number of illegal arms in the domestic market: i.e. what percentage of the total number of arms circulating in the country are owned illegally?

Environmental Crime

The UNODC refers to environmental crime as “the taking, trading [supplying, selling or trafficking], importing, exporting, processing, possessing, obtaining and consumption of wild fauna and flora, including timber and other forest products, in contravention of national or international law.”

For the purposes of this index, flora and fauna are analyzed within the same variable, as both are relevant in Latin America. The aim is to measure the amount of money that environmental crime leaves behind in each country of analysis.

Data collection for environmental crime will focus on two types of countries:

  1. Supply nations: countries where trafficked species are sourced, either for domestic or foreign markets.
  2. Consumer nations: countries where illegal flora and fauna are purchased.

Supply Nations

To estimate environmental crime earnings for supply countries, the researcher will find information on several indicators:

Flora Trafficking

  • Number of species seized: i.e. how many flora species were seized in the country of analysis in the previous year?
  • Sale price per species (USD/species): i.e. the price at which illegally sourced flora is sold to traffickers.

Fauna Trafficking

  • Number of species or parts of the animals seized: i.e. how many specimens or animal parts were seized in the country of analysis in the previous year?
  • Number of animals released from captivity: i.e. the reported number of animals released from captivity back into the wild in the country of analysis.
  • Sale price per species or animal part (USD/species): i.e. the price at which the animal or its parts are sold to traffickers. (This is not the final price offered to the consumer.)

Consumer Nations

To estimate environmental crime earnings for consumer nations, the researcher will find information on several indicators:

Flora Trafficking

  • Estimated number of illegal species in the domestic market: i.e. how many flora species are circulating illegally in the domestic market?
  • Retail price of species (USD/species): i.e. the illegal retail price of each species in the domestic market.

Fauna Trafficking

  • Estimated number of species or animal parts: i.e. how many animals or animal parts are circulating illegally in the domestic market?
  • Retail price of species or animal parts (USD/species): i.e. the retail price of these species or animal parts in the domestic market.

Mineral Resources

The term natural resources, or finite resources, refers to all resources that cannot be produced by humans and cannot be replenished naturally at a rate that can make their extraction sustainable. Gold falls into this category -- a precious metal that has been one of the most coveted resources by legal and illegal actors in Latin America and beyond.

Gold is often mined illegally by criminal actors that operate outside state law and do not comply with any health and safety regulations, resulting in the use of chemical substances such as mercury, which pollute water and propagate diseases. The extraction process also causes deforestation and the extinction of flora and fauna.

The aim of this assessment is to measure the amount of money that the smuggling of natural resources leaves behind in each country of analysis. Since the focus of this index is transnational, mineral consumption will be treated as an import received by the country of analysis. For this, we need to determine the major economic partners that the country of analysis imports/exports gold to and from. Discrepancies between reported imports and exports can help quantify the value of illicit gold mining operations.

Data collection for mineral resources trafficking will be focused on two types of countries:

  1. Producer nations: countries where natural resources are extracted.
  2. Consumer nations: countries that import/consume natural resources.

Producer Nations

To estimate natural resources trafficking for producer countries, the researcher will find information on two indicators:

  • Declared natural resource exports to each import partner (USD): i.e. the value of natural resources the country of analysis exports to each partner.
  • Declared gold imports from each of the gold partners (USD): i.e. the value of natural resources that the country of analysis imports from each partner.

Consumer Nations

To estimate earnings from natural resource trafficking for consumer countries, we will collect information on two indicators:

  • Declared natural resource imports made by each gold partner (USD): i.e.the value of natural resources the country of analysis imports from each partner.
  • Declared natural resource exports from each gold partner (USD): i.e. the value of natural resources partner countries export to the country of analysis.

Transnational Organized Crime Actors

As part of this methodology, we seek to identify, understand, profile and score transnational criminal actors based on their strength and sophistication within each country of analysis.

This rests on the assumption that there is no transnational organized crime without transnational criminal actors to develop those illicit activities. Thus, the stronger and more sophisticated criminal actors are, the higher their ability to generate income from criminal economies and pose major threats to the countries in question.

A transnational criminal actor is understood as a “structured group of people that associate on a regular and prolonged basis to provide illicit goods or services across borders. Its existence is maintained using violence and threats; corruption of public officials; and its influence on society, politics and the economy.”[7]

LATOCI analyzes three type of actors:

  1. National organized crime actors (NOC): groups that originate in the country of analysis and have transnational capacity. This includes actors that work as part of broader transnational networks.
  2. Foreign organized crime actors (FOC): actors that originate from and center their operations in another country, but nevertheless manage illegal activities in the country of study. Such actors will only be assessed for their strength and sophistication within the country of analysis.
  3. Criminal state actors (CS): criminal networks operating within a country’s government and which have a direct relationship with NOC or FOC actors.

There are two key elements for measuring TOC actors:

  • Power: i.e. the scale of a group’s profits; the number of criminal activities in which they are involved and able to control; the tactics they use to expand profits and reach, including alliances with criminal and state actors at home and abroad.
  • Sophistication: i.e. has the actor achieved a level of sophistication that ensures its survival and profits when facing a constant and evolving state response?

This analysis consists of 10 variables, each with a number of indicators that help to provide the most comprehensive assessment of each criminal actor.

Structure

The indicators used to measure this variable are as follows:

  • Size: i.e. the number of active members within the structure.
  • Civil penetration: i.e. the number of civilians or militiamen who collaborate with the criminal actor.
  • Solidity: i.e. the group’s internal cohesion, based on its level of internal disagreements.
  • Subdivision of labor: i.e. the group's capacity to delegate and coordinate labor between different levels of its hierarchy, evidenced by the existence of small working groups that focus on developing certain activities.

Core Leadership

The indicators to be measured for this variable are as follows:

  • Experience: i.e. the leadership's accumulated criminal experience as a sign of sophistication.
  • Invisibility: i.e. how effective the leadership has been in shielding its identity and/or avoiding arrest.

Identity

This variable aims to expose if there are elements of the criminal group’s identity that strengthen it. The indicators to be measured are as follows:

  • Political or ideological affiliation: i.e. does the criminal group subscribe to political or ideological beliefs which bring greater cohesion, loyalty and discipline to its structure?
  • Social ties and values: i.e. does the criminal group enjoy greater cohesion and loyalty as a result of a strong identity unrelated to political affiliation, such as family ties, racial or ethnical ties, shared social values, religious believes, etc.?

Economic Strength

The indicators to be measured for this variable are as follows:

  • Economic diversification: i.e. how many criminal economies is the actor involved in?
  • Monopolistic: i.e. has the actor achieved a monopoly on the criminal economy that generates its greatest profits within the country of analysis?
  • Penetration into the legal economy: i.e. how deep has the criminal group penetrated the legal economy, both in terms of money laundering and its capacity to profit from legitimate business?
  • Foreign profit: i.e. can the actor strengthen itself via profits made outside the country of analysis?

State Penetration

This variable will only consider corruption among the upper echelons of the State. NOC and FOC actors are measured separately to CS actors; the latter does not penetrate the state, as they are already part of it.

For NOC and FOC actors, we are evaluating the penetration of the State. For CS actors, we are assessing the level of government at which the criminal actor has active members.

NOC and FOC Actors

  • Executive branch: i.e. how deeply has the criminal actor been able to penetrate a country’s executive sphere?
  • Legislative branch: i.e. how deeply has the criminal actor been able to penetrate a country’s legislative sphere?
  • Judicial branch: i.e. how deeply has the criminal actor been able to penetrate a country’s judicial sphere?
  • Security forces: i.e. how deeply has the criminal actor been able to penetrate a country’s security forces?

CS Actors

  • Executive branch: i.e. at what level of government does the criminal actor have active members, focusing on the executive branch?
  • Legislative branch: i.e. at what level of government does the criminal actor have active members, focusing on the legislative branch?
  • Judicial branch: at what level of government does the criminal actor have active members, focusing on the judicial branch?
  • Security forces: at what level of government does the criminal actor have active members, focusing on the security forces?

Military Capacity

This variable will assess the extent to which the actor is capable of performing military operations.

  • Type of weapons: i.e. what type of firearms does the group possess? (small arms, light weapons, heavy weapons).
  • Military expertise: i.e. the group's capacity to execute army combat and the accumulated military experience of its members.
  • Complex operations: i.e. what military operations is the actor capable of conducting? (For this, the categories are: command and control [exercising authority and direction under a “commander”]; intelligence [accessing information on adversary capabilities and vulnerabilities, as well as the environment an attack or confrontation will take place]; movement and maneuver [ability to secure positional advantages]; protection [developing protection activities that ensure the group’s fighting potential and reduce casualties]; and/or sustainment [provision of logistics to maintain operations for a sustained period of time]).

 Threat or Use of Violence

  • Violence need: i.e. does the criminal actor need to use violence in order to reach their criminal objective? If so, the researcher must fill out the subsequent indicators (below). If not, the variable does not apply.
  • Violence against civilians: i.e. the capacity and intensity of violence the group uses against unarmed civilians, measured by the following acts: homicides, displacement, forced disappearances, recruitment of children under 15 years old, rape or sexual slavery.
  • Attacks against public forces: i.e. the intensity of violence the group exercises against public forces, measured by attacks on police and military officers and government infrastructure.
  • Active conflict with criminal actors: i.e. the intensity of violence the group uses against other criminal actors, measured by the number of armed disputes the group is engaged in.
  • Purpose of violence: i.e. does the group only use violence to defend its territories, or also to expand into new territories, or both?

Criminal Alliances

For this variable, NOC and FOC actors will be measured separately. For NOC actors, we want to establish how much territory they can cover through alliances worldwide. For FOC actors, we want to know how much territory they cover in the country of analysis, as a result of criminal partnerships.

NOC Actors

  • Alliance reach: i.e. how many territories does the NOC actor have a presence in, as a result of its criminal alliances?
  • Alliance capacity: i.e. what purposes has the NOC actor established its alliances for? (This may include: product exchange, market expansion, supply chain necessities, contracting specialized services, dividing territories).

FOC Actors

  • Alliance reach: i.e. the number of territories in which the FOC actor has established alliances with NOC actors.
  • Alliance capacity: i.e. why has the FOC actor established alliances with NOC actors? (This may include: product exchange, market expansion, supply chain necessities, contracting specialized services, dividing territories).

Territorial Reach

This indicator measures the number of territories in which the criminal group has a physical presence and/or operations. NOC, FOC and CS actors will all be measured separately, as outlined below:

NOC Actors

  • Permanent cells: i.e. the number of strategic territories worldwide in which the NOC actor has permanent cells in control of or participating in criminal economies.
  • Emissaries: i.e. the number of strategic territories worldwide to which the NOC actor can send non-permanent representatives to carry out significant organized crime activities, beyond negotiating or strengthening alliances.
  • Territorial expansion: i.e. the actor's expansion into new strategic territories around the world during the year of analysis.

FOC Actors

  • Permanent cells: i.e. the number of strategic territories worldwide in which the FOC actor has permanent cells in control of or participating in criminal economies.
  • Emissaries: i.e. the number of strategic territories worldwide to which the FOC actor can send non-permanent representatives to carry out significant organized crime activities, beyond negotiating or strengthening alliances.
  • Territorial expansion: i.e. the actor's expansion into new strategic territories around the world during the year of analysis.

CS Actors

  • Territorial reach: i.e. the number of territories in which the CS is present.
  • Territorial capacity: i.e. how many territories does the CS have operations in?
  • Territorial expansion: i.e. the actor's expansion into new strategic territories around the world during the year of analysis.

Criminal Governance

For this variable, NOC and FOC actors will be measured separately from CS actors; criminal state actors do not act as parallel states, as they are already the state.

NOC and FOC Actors

  • Criminal economic dependency: i.e. has the population in a given territory become dependent on economic opportunities generated by the actor’s criminal activities?
  • Recruitment: i.e. can the actor recruit new loyal members which voluntarily adhere to the group’s codes of conduct, values and actions? Alternatively, do new recruits join out of fear or economic interest?
  • Provision of goods and services: i.e. does the criminal actor provide some public services to the population that the state can or will not, such as security and infrastructure?
  • Parallel tax system: i.e. has the criminal actor established a parallel taxation system, including the collection of illegal quotas charged to legal activities like farming and trade in exchange for some benefits, like security?
  • Social norms and sanctions: i.e. can the criminal actor impose and enforce behavioral norms that the community must follow, from curfews to parallel justice systems and dispute settlement?
  • Territorial hegemony: i.e. does the group control a certain territory without other criminal actors trying to dispute it?
  • Prisons control:i.e. does the actor control one or more of the country's main prisons?

CS Actors

  • Influence upon policies or laws: i.e. are there policies or laws that have been promoted by members of the CS actor in order to facilitate or benefit their criminal activities?
  • Public workers with criminal records: i.e. have officials that are publicly known for engaging in criminal activities or with organized crime groups been appointed to important positions within the government?
  • Judicial cover up: i.e. has the CS actor used the judicial system to prevent criminal investigations from being opened or closed?
  • National legitimacy: i.e. has the criminal actor been able to gain legitimacy or approval from its own citizens?
  • International accusations of criminal behavior: i.e. has the criminal network been accused by three or more countries of carrying out criminal activities?

Longevity

  • Longevity: i.e. the period of time that the group has been able to endure while it remains criminally active.

Endnotes

[1] To gain access to the standard information-gathering protocol, analysis and classification for each criminal economy and actor, please send your request to info@insightcrime.org

[2] For this exercise, the transit stage will not be taken into account individually, since according to a review made by the LATOCI team in 2018, determining the origin of cannabis and the countries of transit is a complicated task since the bush can be planted in any nation and its growth codes are not specific.

[3] UNODC. “Migrant Smuggling”. https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/smuggling-of-migrants.html

[4] Interpol. “Trafficking in human beings”. https://www.interpol.int/en/Internet/Crime-areas/Trafficking-in-human-beings/Trafficking-in-human-beings

[5] UNODC. 2018 Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants

[6] UNODC. “Migrant Smuggling”. https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/smuggling-of-migrants.html

[7] Dudley, Steven, InSight Crime, March 2016. “Elites and Organized Crime: Conceptual Framework- Organized Crime.” https://www.insightcrime.org/investigations/elites-and-organized-crime-conceptual-framework-organized-crime/

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