The study looked at a number of U.S. cities that have NFL teams: Detroit, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Philadelphia, Miami, New Orleans, Baltimore and Newark (for the New York teams). The study examined how crime changed for a football gameday when the city was hosting their home team.
What the study found is that larceny and motor vehicle theft increased on home gamedays. Larceny jumped 4 percent on home gamedays and motor vehicle thefts jumped 7 percent. Overall, crime increased 3 percent in a city which was hosting their own professional team. There are a couple of factors that likely play into this phenomenon.
The first is that on gamedays, there are tens of thousands of people crammed together in restaurants, in parking lots, in stadiums and many other areas. In that mass of people, it is easier for people to pickpocket or commit crimes. Also, in this mass of people, there are more objects and personal belongings to be taken. Alcohol could also play a huge factor in the rise of criminal activity, though that isn’t mentioned in this study.
Crime is a complex entity, and the people who commit these offenses certainly play their small part. Even when they make such a mistake, they need to defend themselves against the criminal charges — whether the incident occurred on gameday or not.
Source: Washington Post, “Why city crime spikes during home football games,” Roberto A. Ferdman, Nov. 26, 2014