Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice


Michael Maxfield

Committee Members

Mangai Natarajan

Jon Shane

Subject Categories



Port security, maritime security, criminal networks, organized crime, Port of NY/NJ, seaports


Seaports form a unique space for criminological examination. As the locus points for the majority of international and domestic trade criminal network access to a port can provide outsized benefits. While ports are physical spaces they are underlined by complex systems incorporating public and private agencies, companies and small entities. Underlying the administrative and logistical activity at the port is a jurisdictional web of public and private security regulatory agencies. The complexity of the environment creates vulnerabilities that criminal networks can use to gain access to ports. This dissertation developed a Seaport Vulnerability Framework (SVF), developed from the rational choice and situational crime prevention literature with a multi-disciplinary focus that allows security stakeholders to identify whether a port is at risk of utilization by criminal networks. The SVF is used to measure and analyze criminological vulnerability in the top 30 U.S. container seaports and in-depth in a case study at the Port of New York and New Jersey. Finally, I examine the implications of the SVF for port and maritime security policy and port security assessments in the U.S. and worldwide.

Included in

Criminology Commons