What Honeybees Can Teach Us About Gang-Related Crime
"All people are like this," Brantingham says. "You have focal points around your house, or your community center. Honeybees have their hive. Hyenas have their den. And lion prides have their den. Organisms all tend to have an anchor point for their activities, and gangs are no different."
"A mathematical equation obviously can’t take into account the level of detail sociologists can collect on the ground, interviewing gang and community members, documenting graffiti and crime locations. But this theoretical model turned out to predict with pretty remarkable accuracy actual gang violence in Los Angeles. This model suggests most violence would occur not deep into gang territory, but on the contentious borders between gangs. The researchers overlaid actual crime data on top of their model – covering 563 violent crimes, between 1999 and 2002, involving these 13 gangs – and that’s exactly what they saw.
"Violent crime in this part of Los Angeles clustered along the theoretical boundaries between gangs produced by the same math equation that tells us how rival honeybees divvy up space. As a practical matter, this suggests police officers might want to focus their resources on these seams between gang territories."