Like two peas in a pod? Explaining friendship selection processes related to victimization and offending


In this paper, we examine the similarity between friends with respect to experiences with crime among a sample of Dutch individuals. We investigate the extent to which offenders, victims and victim-offenders (de)select friends differently and, subsequently, who (de)selects whom and why. We use data from the annual Dutch panel survey CrimeNL, which includes ego-centered network measures at each wave for more than 500 participants, ranging from 16 to 45 years old. Results show that offenders terminate friendships more often than non-offenders, and they have a higher likelihood of selecting new friends, regardless of prior victimization experiences. Furthermore, homophily with respect to crime involvement exists; both offenders and victims are more likely to select new friends who are similarly involved in crime. Risky lifestyles to a large extent explain why people select offenders as friends, whereas third parties (that is, parents and the pre-existing network of individuals) influence people’s decision to engage in friendships with victims of crime. Nevertheless, after taking individual preferences, meeting opportunities and third parties into account, offenders and victims are still more likely to select friends with similar crime experiences.

European Journal of Criminology, 13(2):231-256