Mobile Game Theory with Street Gangs


Sarah Cooney, Wendy Gomez, Kai Wang, Jorja Leap, P. Jefferey Brantingham, and Milind Tambe. 2019. “Mobile Game Theory with Street Gangs.” In The 4th Workshop on Data Science for Social Good at ECML-PKDD, 2019.


Gang violence remains a persistent public safety problem
in Los Angeles. Gang interventionists and community organizers are
turning to proactive peacekeeping, a process of addressing the underlying structures that cause young people to join gangs such as pervasive poverty and marginalization. Given the increasing prevalence and
decreasing cost of mobile technology, there may be opportunities for interventionists to employ technological solutions in their work. However,
before such solutions can be deployed, it is necessary to have accurate
models of the target users—in this case, gang-involved youth. Of particular interest with regard proactive peacekeeping is their propensity for
cooperation. However, given the unique circumstances surrounding the
lives of gang-involved youth, traditional laboratory-based experiments
measuring cooperation are infeasible. In this paper, we present a novel
method of collecting experimental data from gang-involved youth in the
Los Angeles area. We design a mobile application based on the classic Prisoner’s Dilemma model, which has been used to collect almost
3000 data points on cooperation from more than 20 participants. We
present initial results that show despite their unique life circumstances
gang-involved youth cooperate at roughly the same rate as university students in classic studies of cooperation. We conclude by addressing the
implications of this result for future work and proactive peacekeeping
See also: 2019