Different criminal groups organize differently – crucially, some make attempts to restrain violence on the part of their agents while others engage in unrestrained bloody campaigns. In this paper, I will review some of these findings and outline a theory about the pressures that constrain drug trafficking organizations from employing indiscriminate violence. I will demonstrate how this behavior varies locally within organizations and is shaped not only by competition but also by the kinds of criminal activity in which organizations are engaged. To do so, I exploit results from a topic model trained on a database of drug trafficking-related Mexican news coverage, an original dataset mapping municipal level presence constructed from news coverage, and an algorithm that detects opium cultivation in satellite imagery.
I was born in Puerto Rico, where I spent most of my formative years. I studied at the University of Maryland where I studied political science and Latin American literature. Upon completing undergrad in 2014, I began a PhD at Stanford, focusing my research on issues of crime, violence, and state capacity in Latin America and using advanced quantitative methods to find creative ways of measuring these often elusive phenomena.