Gang sweeps, crime, and welfare

Worldwide, efforts to detect criminal organisations involved in drug trafficking have intensified, and sanctions have toughened.  On the matter of crime-fighting policies, gang proliferation has been fought mostly with hard policing strategies such as sweeps. These are interventions held close in time and territory with the aim of dismantling criminal groups.

In this project, we study their causal effect on crime for arrested individuals and known peers. We also study broader welfare implications for the areas where a sweep took place.  Moreover, we conduct an innovative counterfactual policy exercise that compares sweep outcomes with theoretically predicted crime reductions when removing key players. This exercise indicates that sweeps could have achieved a 50 per cent larger reduction in criminal activity had key players been removed. In this way, a network analysis provides insights on how to improve policy design.


Magdalena Dominguez 


Sweeping up gangs: The effects of tough-on-crime policies from a network approach (working paper)

Gäng, nätverk och brott – lärdomar för Sverige, Ekonomisk Debatt 4/22: Link to article

Last modified: 2022-11-29