There will be no more home football games for the Vikings or Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium this year, and that could lead to lower crime rates, according to a new study.
Researchers tracked the crime rates in eight cities home to an NFL franchise to determine how home games affect crime rates. Analysts tracked crime rates for Baltimore, Detroit, Miami, New Orleans, Newark, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Washington for a two-year period. After comparing the data, researchers found:
- On days that cities hosted a home game there was a 3 percent increase in total crime.
- Larceny rates jumped 4 percent on game days, while car thefts rose 7 percent.
- Noon games are most closely connected to higher crime rates than afternoon or evening kickoffs, as there was a 4 percent increase in total crime and economic crime during midday starts.
“NFL home games are correlated with a higher incidence of crime compared to non-game days or days when the team is playing an away game in another city,” the researchers wrote.
Researchers say the results aren’t surprising, as it’s easier for criminals to strike in large crowds where opportunities are more plentiful. They noted that the increase in car thefts has a lot to do with a large gathering of cars in one area, most of which are left unattended for a few hours. This gives a thief plenty of time to find the ideal opening to strike.
“If stadium, restaurant, bar, and other parking lots are full of cars, it will be easier for thieves to find suitable cars to steal,” the researchers wrote.
Although there is a greater police presence around the stadium on game day than on any other day, oftentimes they are overwhelmed with other tasks, like crowd control or alcohol-related instances. This can provide the perfect cover for thieves.
“A large gathering of people on game day increases the number of potential targets and may also reduce the likelihood of criminal apprehension, as criminals can blend more easily into larger crowds,” the authors wrote.
Researchers concluded that the uptick in crime is costly. They estimated that a 3 percent increase in crime amounts to $85,000 per game day, or about $700,000 per city, per year.
Avery Appelman Comments
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an uptick in certain crimes during NFL games. Not long ago we published another study that claimed domestic violence and assaults increased during football games, especially if the team that lost was expected to win.
I’m not surprised crime rates spike during home football games because we seem to get a few more calls on Sunday night and Monday morning the day after a Vikings game than we do on an average Monday.
The study didn’t look into DUI arrests, but I’d be interested in seeing how DUI rates on football Sundays compare to Sundays without football. I think there would certainly be a spike in the hours after a home game or a particularly important win.
Related source: Herald Net