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Police and Thieves in the Stadium: Measuring the (Multiple)Effects of Football Matches on Crime

  • Olivier Marie

During large sporting events criminal behaviour may be affected via three main channels: (i) fan concentration, (ii) self incapacitation, and (iii) police displacement. In this paper I exploit information on football (soccer) matches for nine London teams linked to detailed recorded crime data at the area level to empirically estimate these different effects. My findings show that only property crime significantly increases in the communities hosting football matches but that they experience no changes in violent offences. These results are robust to controlling for a large number of game type and outcome characteristics. There is no evidence of temporal displacement of criminal activity. Our conceptual model suggests that the away game attendance effect on crime is due to voluntary incapacitation of potential offenders. I argue that the police displacement effect of hosting a match increases property crime by 7 percentage point for every extra 10,000 supporters.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1012.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1012
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Nicholas Bloom, 2007. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," NBER Working Papers 13385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David Card & Gordon Dahl, 2009. "Family Violence and Football: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior," NBER Working Papers 15497, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jacob, Brian A. & Lefgren, Lars & Moretti, Enrico, 2005. "The Dynamics of Criminal Behavior: Evidence from Weather Shocks," Working Paper Series rwp05-003, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2003. "Are Idle Hands the Devil's Workshop? Incapacitation, Concentration and Juvenile Crime," NBER Working Papers 9653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gordon Dahl & Stefano DellaVigna, 2009. "Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 677-734, May.
  6. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2004. "Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 115-133, March.
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