(CBS) When the Bears play, the city of Chicago pretty much drops everything and turns its attention to the game at hand.
Many criminals included, we now know.
When the Bears play Monday night games, crime in the city dropped by 13 percent, according to a study by University of California-Berkeley researchers Ryan Copus and Hannah Laquer. The study found a slight drop for Sunday games as well, saying crime — specifically violent crime, drug arrests and property crime — dropped by 3 percent. Crime during the Super Bowl has dropped by about 26 percent, according to a Yahoo article on the study, although it was found to spike also shortly before the big game.
“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.
The study also showed “similar but smaller effects for NBA and MLB games” in Chicago.
While the researchers acknowledged police might be more distracted during the games and have less manpower on the streets to fight crime, they still believe football’s appeal is the main reason there is less crime.
“The fact that potential victims are inside watching the game could explain why we don’t see as much violent crime,” Copus said, according to dnainfo.com. “But we don’t think (being inside is) a very good explanation for the reductions in property crime.
“Potential offenders are distracted by the game,” Copus explained.
The research by Copus and Laquer was inspired by comments from then-Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis during the 2011 lockout, when he said crime would rise if there were no NFL games. Come to find out, it Lewis’ theory proves true, at least to a degree.
“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 said.