UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science


Juliana Gómez-Quintero


Juliana Gómez-Quintero is an Industrial Engineer and MSc in Engineering from Los Andes University in Colombia. She completed the MRes in Security and Crime Science and is currently a PhD student in the department of Security and Crime Science at UCL. Back in her home country, Colombia, she was a lecturer of Systems Dynamics, Systems Thinking, Computer Simulation and other engineering topics. She has done research and consultancy for public institutions in Colombia for the design and evaluation of public policies in justice, crime and security, supported by systems thinking and computer simulation models. Parallel to her PhD studies, she participates in research projects about crime prevention and organised crime, particularly with the National Police of Colombia. She has been a PGTA at the Department of Security and Crime Science in Designing and Doing Research, Systems and Problem Solving and Simulation for Research.

Research project

Distribution of Harm of Cocaine Trade in Colombia


After 50 years, the war on drugs has failed. Despite slight decreases in coca crops, cocaine production is increasing as well as consumption. In addition to health harms, cocaine trade produces violence and money laundering, among other crimes.
In drug-producing countries, these harms are spread throughout all stages of trade (production, trafficking and sales). Addressing these harms requires a suitable harm assessment that can gauge how much harm is produced at each stage. Existing methods are do not assess organised crime across its different stages, do not include the harm that comes from connected crimes (i.e. money laundering), nor do they consider the temporal aspects of harm.
This study aims to develop a framework that incorporates process, connected crimes and temporal aspects so that suitable methods for assessing the harms of organised crime can be developed. The framework will be illustrated with the application to cocaine trade in Colombia with the use of crime scripting, document analysis and mixed methods research. The framework is expected to be extendable to assessing harm of other types of organised crime such as human trafficking; providing researchers and decision makers with a new tool to address and understand these problems.


Organised Crime; Drug Trafficking; Harm


  • Olaya, C., Gomez-Quintero, J., & Navarrete, A. C. (2018). Crime and punishment as a social system: the case of prison overcrowding. Kybernetes
  • Olaya, C., Guzmán, L., & Gomez-Quintero, J. (2017). An engineering perspective for policy design: self-organizing crime as an evolutionary social system. Trends in Organized Crime, 20(1), 55-84