Is There a Spike in Crime on NFL Game Days?

football-531240-mSan Francisco Police were out in force February 3, 2013. Having witnessed chaos after the Giants won the World Series months before, authorities were concerned about the response 49ers fans would have to their team playing in the Super Bowl. Fortunately, disappointed fans created only minor problems. Baltimore police, on the other hand, were less fortunate as Raven’s fans rioted in the street, overturned cars and even looted. So just how common is crime in a team’s home city on pro-football game days? Authors David E. Kalist and Daniel Y. Lee explored this topic in their article “The National Football League: Does Crime Increase on Game Day?” from Journal of Sports Economics.

This article investigates the effects of National Football League (NFL) games on JSE__.inddcrime. Using a panel data set that includes daily crime incidences in eight large cities with NFL teams, we examine how various measurements of criminal activities change on game day compared with nongame days. Our findings from both ordinary least squares and negative binomial regressions indicate that NFL home games are associated with a 2.6% increase in total crimes, while financially motivated crimes such as larceny and motor vehicle theft increase by 4.1% and 6.7%, respectively, on game days. However, we observe that play-off games are associated with a decrease in financially motivated crimes. The effects of game time (afternoon vs. evening) and upset wins and losses on crime are also considered.

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