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

  • Marie Olivier

    (METEOR)

During large sporting events criminal behaviour may impact on criminal behaviour 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 increasesproperty crime by 7 percentage point for every extra 10,000 supporters.

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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR) in its series Research Memorandum with number 044.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umamet:2010044
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  1. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2003. "Are Idle Hands the Devil's Workshop? Incapacitation, Concentration, and Juvenile Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1560-1577, December.
  2. 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.
  3. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, 05.
  4. 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.
  5. David Card & Gordon B. Dahl, 2011. "Family Violence and Football: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 103-143.
  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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