How much do Chicagoans love the Bears? Enough that they take a break from committing crimes when their football team is on.
When the Bears played Monday night games, total crime citywide dropped 13 percent, according to University of California-Berkeley researchers Ryan Copus and Hannah Laquer. Crime during all Bears games dropped according to the study (h/t to DNAinfo.com). Bears games on Sundays resulted in a 3 percent dip. The Super Bowl led to a 26 percent dip in crime.
Is it as simple as crooks staying off the street to watch the Bears? Well, yes.
"The evidence suggests these reductions are largely explained by potential offenders
spending their time watching the game on television rather than engaging in criminal activity," the paper stated.
There are other factors involved. Are the police more distracted by Bears games, letting more crimes go? Probably. Also, there is a tremendous amount of police manpower dedicated to Bears home games, which means there are fewer cops patrolling the streets. Those factors are tough to quantify (although the paper believes the large drop in drug crimes might come from the police not being as proactive about them during games).
But it does prove that maybe Ray Lewis' seemingly crazy ramblings were correct.
Remember when Lewis, the former Ravens linebacker, said during the 2011 lockout that crime would rise if there were no NFL games? It sounded like some typical over-the-top Lewis banter at the time, but the research by Copus and Laquer was actually inspired by those comments.
The first words of the introduction are Lewis' quotes from that memorable interview and the statement that they wanted to test Lewis' hypothesis that crime would rise because people wouldn't have anything else to do. And, if you believe the research, maybe Lewis wasn't so nuts after all with his prediction. Crime in Chicago, at least, is higher on the Sundays when the Bears don't play.
The research has greater social analysis than just trying to prove Lewis' comments correct. The research said if crime goes down during Bears games, perhaps some crime is "recreational and opportunistic" rather than premeditated. Whatever the findings, the citizens of Chicago who abide by the law will really be hoping for a long run in the playoffs for the Bears this season.
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