Common patterns in violent crime, conflict and terrorism: From Colombia to Iraq

Neil Johnson
University of Oxford

We have uncovered remarkable regularities in both the size and timing
of acts of human violence -- from violent crime, through to current
conflicts and global terrorism. In particular, we present evidence of
common statistical patterns for scenarios as diverse as homicides in
Bogota, Colombia, through to insurgent attacks in Iraq. Inspired by
recent work in the field of Complex Systems, we propose agent-based
models which can explain these quantitative findings in terms of the
microscopic behavior of the various armed actors. Specifically, we
find that the patterns observed can be explained by the decision-
making activities of dynamically evolving gangs.

Authors: Neil F. Johnson, Elvira Maria Restrepo, Juan Camilo
Bohorquez, Sean Gourley, Alvara Jose Moreno
Institutions: Oxford University (U.K.), Universidad de Los Andes
(Colombia), CERAC (Colombia), University of London (U.K.)
Collaborators: Mike Spagat, Jorge Restrepo, Alex Dixon, Roberto Zarama

Audio (MP3 File, Podcast Ready)

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