The ever-changing gang landscape in British Columbia (BC) has seen periods of escalated retaliatory gang violence, most recently in 2015, in Surrey, BC, Canada. The 'face' of the gang problem in Surrey is that of South Asian males in their early twenties. Homicide among this population is an unrecognized public health crisis, as over the last decade, there have been over 150 deaths and counting of South Asian males related to gang violence in the Lower Mainland. A cross-disciplinary tool that police can use to advance their understanding of gangs, conflicts and violent victimization is social network analysis (SNA). The ego-networks of the 23 confirmed gang-related gun homicide or attempted homicide victims in Surrey, in 2015, are constructed using police data from 2011 to 2015. The present study a) assesses the overall structure to understand the Surrey gang conflict, b) conducts centrality analyses to identify those individuals (victims and non-victims) at the highest risk of gunshot victimization and c) explores the potential consequences of being central in the victim network. Results indicate that 299 of the 355 individuals in the overall network are connected to each other, including 18 of the 23 victims, who are more likely to be brokers. A high-risk group is identified, with two or more direct connections to victims that are at the highest risk of victimization. Finally, results show that 2016 and 2017 victims are among the most central in the network. Policy and practical implications are discussed with reference to these findings.
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Thesis advisor: Bouchard, Martin
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