Some things you just don’t mess with in Chicago—and that includes the city’s hot dogs, beef, pizza and their beloved sports teams.
Chicagoans love their sports so much the city’s crime rates, which continue to garner national attention, apparently drop during sporting events.
According to a study from University of California-Berkeley, researchers claim that crime in Chicago—including violent crime, drug arrests and property crime—saw a consistent drop during televised sports games (H/t DNAinfo.com).
Researchers for the report, titled “Entertainment as Crime Prevention: Evidence from Chicago Sports Games,” indicate the study was sparked by a comment made in 2011 by retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
Lewis issued a challenge during the NFL lockout to “Do this research… If we don’t have a season, watch how much evil, which we call crime, watch how much crime picks up if you take away our game… [People have] nothing else to do.”
The study analyzed Chicago crime by the minute during major sporting events from the NFL, NBA and MLB, comparing police crime reports by the half hour when sports teams are playing to crime reports at the same time of day and month when the teams are not playing.
The study, conducted by researchers Ryan Copus and Hannah Laquer, found that during Chicago Bears Monday night football games, overall crime dropped nearly 15 percent compared to Mondays when the Bears did not play. Similar but smaller effects were reported during NBA and MLB games.
(Note: The Chicago Blackhawks were not included in the study)
In addition, total crime reports decreased by roughly 25 percent during Super Bowl game coverage.
“The consistent drop across all crime types -- violent, property, drug and other -- in conjunction with the absence of displacement before or after games, suggests the decline in crime is driven primarily by fewer potential criminals on the streets,” according to the report.
Researchers said the study suggests insights into the nature of criminal behavior, suspecting that some crime may be recreational and not a “premeditated and calculated activity.”
“Some amount of crime is opportunistic and situational -- if prevented today, it does not inevitably occur tomorrow,” the report stated.