Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-2-2020

Abstract

Objectives: This study examines the impact of alcohol consumption in a Major League Baseball (MLB) stadium on area level counts of crime. The modal practice at MLB stadiums is to stop selling alcoholic beverages after the seventh inning. Baseball is not a timed game, so the duration between end of the seventh inning (last call for alcohol) and the end of the game varies considerably, providing a unique natural experiment that allows us to estimate the relationship between alcohol consumption and crime near a stadium on game days to non-game days and to areas around sports bars that fans also frequent but are not subject to alcohol restrictions after the seventh inning.

Methods: Crime data were obtained from Philadelphia for the period 2006-2015 and geocoded to the area around the MLB stadium as well as popular sports bars. We rely on difference-in-differences regression models to estimate the change in crime on home game days around the stadium as the game time extends into extra innings to other areas of the city and around sports bars in Philadelphia relative to days when the baseball team plays away from home.

Results: We found that when there are extra innings and more game-time after the seventh inning alcohol sales stoppage crime declines significantly around the stadium. The effects are largely driven by a reduction in assaults. The crime reduction benefit of the last call alcohol policy is undone when a complex of sports bars opens in the stadium parking lot in 2012. The results suggest that alcohol consumption during baseball games is a contributor to crime.

Conclusions: The findings provide further support for environmental theories of crime that note the congregation of people in places with excessive alcohol consumption is a generator of violent crime in cities. The consumption of alcohol in MLB stadiums appears to increase opportunities for people to get swept up into fights

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