Researchers Ryan Copus and Hannah Laquer found that crime in Chicago â€” violent crime, drug arrests and property crime â€” all took a nosedive when there was a game on TV between 2001 and 2013.
The study, titled “Entertainment as Crime Prevention: Evidence from Chicago Sports Games,” was inspired by retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who, during the 2011 NFL lockout issued this challenge: “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.”
Lewis was mocked by social scientists, police and sports columnists who said there was no data to support the linebacker’s hypothesis that sports games on TV make Americans safer.
But Copus and Laquer, doctoral candidates at the University of California Berkeley Law School, say their research shows Lewis was on to something.
“We think our paper is pretty good evidence that Ray Lewis was right. Lewis claimed that an NFL lockout would lead to higher crime, and we find large decreases in crime during games, and no evidence of short-term increases before or after the game,” Copus said.
The study compared city by-the-minute crime stats during televised NFL, NBA and MLB games and non-game days. (They didn’t include Blackhawks games, but we’ll get to that later.)
“In general, we find substantial declines during games across crime types â€” property, violent, drug and other â€” with the largest reductions for drug crime,” Copus said.
The main reason: both criminals and police love sports to distraction.
“Potential offenders are distracted by the game,” Copus said.
“We don’t think other explanations can account for that. So, for example, the fact that potential victims are inside watching the game could explain why we don’t see as much violent crime, but we don’t think it’s a very good explanation for the reductions in property crime.”
And when it comes to game-time declines in drug arrests, Copus said the research suggests that police are willing to wait until after the game to make arrests.
“Police officers might be more lax on a big game day, but it’s hard to rigorously test the theory,” Copus said. “We do see particularly large reductions in drug crime that we think are probably in part due to police officers taking it a little easy on drug crimes during games.”
The researchers didn’t pick Chicago as its test case due to our city’s reputation for shootings that earned the nickname “Chiraq.”
“We ended up using data from Chicago mostly because [police] make their by-the-minute criminal incident reports publicly available. Most cities don’t,” Copus said. “Plus, Chicago is a city known for caring about its sports teams.”
And the sports team Chicagoans collectively care about the most â€” Da Bears â€” had the biggest positive effect on crime, especially on Monday Night Football, the study found.
When the Bears won Monday night games, total crime citywide dropped 17 percent. That’s second only to the Super Bowl, which posted a 26 percent decrease in total crime, including a 63 percent dip in drug arrests, according to the analysis.
In November, the Bears organization staged its 25th anniversary reunion of the ’85 team, and planned a raucous weekend in Chicago. The Fridge didn’t attend, and when asked why, he says, "I didn’t even know of the anniversary.”
The truth is, he did know about it and filmed a video message to be read at the event. But the mind of William Perry is going again, and no one knows where it’ll end up. According to Michael Dean and Valerie, he’s also been diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure, although Valerie rolls her eyes because she cannot get him to take his medication.
His life now
The unfinished home he lives in is cold. The heat doesn’t work in all spaces of the cavernous house. He sits all day watching his TV, wearing Topsiders with no socks, sitting sometimes in his own urine. His family says he is incontinent; it’s another one of his issues. But sometimes, it’s just too difficult to stand up and simply walk to the bathroom.
Ditka knows only bits and pieces of this, and he says the last time he spoke to the Fridge, he felt he understood that he couldn’t drink, that this was "his last chance.”
Perry doesn’t believe he’s putting himself in jeopardy, though. He looks in the mirror and he sees a body that now weighs 400 pounds. That’s better than 190, he says. That’s progress, he says. He still does occasional autograph signings in Chicago, making a bit of cash here and there. He says he can’t be in too bad of shape if he can climb onto a plane and write his name 100 times. He says he can’t be too bad off if he can still recite lyrics to the "Super Bowl Shuffle." He says he can’t be too sick if he’s down to only one or two beers a night.
The gap in his teeth is gone. The gap between William Perry and reality has apparently taken its place.
On a sultry June afternoon four years after his final football game, the ex-Chicago Bear, ex-Philadelphia Eagle, ex-London Monarch and one-time Super Bowl Shuffler is doing what he most enjoys: "wettin’ a hook." Piloting the boat in search of crappie is Perry’s father-in-law, Crosby Broadwater, known hereabouts as Mr. B. The Fridge, Mr. B and Mr. B’s son Robert co-own a subcontracting company out of Aiken, S.C.The Fridge spends his time bidding on jobs, erecting scaffoldings and laying bricks or cinder blocks. "I like working with blocks the best," he says. "A block just sits more comfortably in my hand."
He seemed at peace with post retirement life.
This bad body has always housed this good attitude. "I had some god-given talent," says the Fridge. "I put in 10 years in the league. I’m grateful for that, and I’m happy that it’s over. I’m real happy where I am now."
His life is more than full. He and Sherry have three girls and a boy: Latavia, 17, Norie, 14, "Little" William, 8, and Sherria, 3. The Fridge’s work is hard and satisfying. If he’s put on a few (dozen) pounds since his playing days, Perry still contends that he’s in pretty good shape. "You put up six scaffolds, then lay brick all day in 100-degree heat," he says, still smiling. "We’ll see what kind of shape you’re in."
When he’s not working, he heads for the water. "Don’t get no better than this," says Perry, sitting on the deck of the boat. A zephyr ripples the water of Lake Thurmond. The bream and shellcrackers are biting. The big man is asked if he misses celebrity and its trappings. Here it comes again, the gap-toothed grin. "This is me now," he says. "Those things you’re talking about, that’s just stuff in the breeze."
It reminds me of the tragic retirement of former Steelersâ€™ great Mike Webster.
I am trying to figure out which city I should go to and take in an NFL game next year. Here are my requirements:
- The game canâ€™t have Brett Favre playing in it.
- I want to see either a baseball game in it or a NCAA football game the same weekend.
- It needs to be within a 24 hour drive.
- Itâ€™s Mecca as far as I am concerned. I live and die for the Denver Broncos.
- I have no desire to see the Colorado Rockies play.
- Again, not sure if I want to see the University of Colorado play a Pac-10 matchup.
- That doesnâ€™t look like a fun drive through Wyoming and I doubt Dick Cheney would let me crash at his place after some of the things that I have written about him here.
- Closest game to Saskatoon.
- Mark can stop in Winnipeg and pee on Canad Inns Stadium on the way by again.
- Can see the Minnesota Twins play in their new park.
- Mall of America.
- I do like Minneapolis
- Domed stadium.
- I really donâ€™t like the Vikings.
- Brett Favre could send me a crude txt message.
- Mall of America is not that much different than West Edmonton Mall.
- I would feel bad driving to Minneapolis and not going to Solomonâ€™s Porch because I was heading to a football game.
- Itâ€™s Seattle
- Pikeâ€™s Market
- I could take in a University of Washington game
- I can taunt them for drafting Brian Bosworth
- I may be able to talk Don Crawford into driving down and watching the game with us.
- We could stop in Calgary and I can have breakfast with Dave King.
- I lost so much respect for Pete Carroll after what happened at USC. It would bug me to support his salary with a game ticket.
- What if they wear their horrific third jerseyâ€™s.
- Soldier Field.
- Navy Pier.
- Sears (or whatever it is called now) Tower.
- Wouldnâ€™t mind seeing the Cubs, White Sox, or Northwestern play.
- Jay Cutler
- Mike Martz
- Bears fans in general are not the most enlightened.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
This kind of cracks me up/makes me want to hit my head against the wall.
"I was surprised they decided to trade me this soon," Cutler told Glazer in his first comments since the statement was released. "I didn’t want to get traded. This wasn’t me. (The Broncos) had been going back and forth saying things, wanting me to be their quarterback and then they didn’t."
"I really didn’t want this. I love Denver. I really like my teammates. I didn’t want it to get this far."
It makes me wonder if this was an attempt to get a new contract rather than force a trade. Cutler had two amazing receivers, a good offensive line, and an offensive minded coach and owner. Now he is in a city with a mediocre offense, no high draft picks, and a team that thinks run first.
Now Denver will go out and draft Matt Sanchez and he will get to drive the Ferrari that is Denverâ€™s offence.