UC Berkeley Study: Less crime in Chicago during MNF games featuring Bears

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Violence in Chicago is no joking matter.

Murders, shootings and more continue to pile up day after day in the city.

According to a UC Berkeley study, there is one time that Chicago does consistently see a decrease in crime, though.

Crime during Chicago Bears Monday night football games is roughly 15 percent lower (30 fewer crimes) than during the same time on non-game nights. Our results show similar but smaller effects for NBA and MLB games. Except for the Super Bowl, we find little evidence for temporal crime displacement before or after the games. In general, we find substantial declines during games across crime types – property, violent, drug, and other – with the largest reductions for drug crime. We believe fewer potential offenders on the streets largely explain the declines in crime.

The study also looked at other large sporting events and the crime in Chicago — noting that even though crime is down, there are still some spikes around the event.

Because the scheduling of a sporting event should be random with respect to crime within a given month, day of the week, and time, we use month-time-day-of-week fixed effects to estimate the effect of the sporting events on crime. We compare crime reports by the half hour when Chicago’s NFL, NBA, or MLB teams are playing to crime reports at the same time, day, and month when the teams are not playing. We conduct the same analysis for the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, and MLB World Series. The Super Bowl generates the most dramatic declines: total crime reports decrease by approximately 25 percent (roughly 60 fewer crimes). The decline is partially offset by an increase in crime before the game, most notably in drug and prostitution reports, and an uptick in reports of violent crime immediately after the game.

This Monday, the Bears will be in San Diego to take on the Chargers on Monday Night Football — meaning the study’s conclusions will be put to a test.

In other countries, such as England, crime tied to sporting events has been studied in-depth as well.

The Bears, 2-5, are in must-win mode against the Chargers on Monday night as they can’t afford to fall to 2-6.

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