Does violence and other forms of crime increase in areas around football stadia on a match day? This is an important question, because it would indicate whether the football clubs need to take greater responsibility for what happens not just in their stadium, but around it. The problem is, and always has been, that football clubs do not view crime/incidents that occur around their grounds as their problem.
New research from UCL’s Department of Security and Crime Science uses geostatistical and mathematical techniques to assess both the spatial and temporal extent of crime and incidents that take place in and around various stadia throughout England and Wales when football matches are played. While the research itself is largely quantitative the overarching aim is to utilise the findings for the purposes of ‘third party policing’. That is to say that by identifying the unique patterns of crime and incidents that take place at different stadia the police will have the necessary evidence to either persuade or coerce football clubs not only into paying what they are lawfully responsible for under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 and Section 25 (Special Policing Services) of the Police Act 1996 but will place pressure upon the football clubs to take some responsibility over preventing crime. This should translate into a reduction in police and criminal justice expenditure for the purposes of dealing with football-related crime.
The research will demonstrate the significance, or lack of significance, in the differences with respect to counts of crime at varying distances from stadiums using a Monte Carlo approach. This is a mathematical approach that is commonly used in Engineering. Additionally I seek to determine if the spatial distribution and temporal distribution for crimes/incidents that take place are significantly different then they would typically be in the area in and around the stadium on a relevant comparison days when no football matches take place. In other words it tests what we might theoretically expect when a football match is taking place with more crimes taking place geographically closer to the football ground and closer to the times when football matches are taking place.