Do sports stadiums generate crime on days without matches? A natural experiment on the delayed exploitation of criminal opportunities

Christophe Vandeviver*, Wim Bernasco, Stijn Van Daele

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Crime pattern theory claims that busy places generate crime through immediate and delayed exploitation. In delayed exploitation, offenders notice criminal opportunities during opening hours but return to exploit them later. This study investigates delayed exploitation by testing whether soccer stadiums locally increase police-recorded property crime on non-game days. A soccer stadium closure created a natural experiment. We estimate linear regression difference-in-difference models to compare crime rates on non-game days around the stadium, before and after the closure. The closure reduced non-game day property crime beyond the citywide property crime drop. We conclude that criminogenic effects of busy places extend beyond their opening hours, confirming the delayed exploitation mechanism and that crime-prevention strategies should also target these places outside opening hours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalSecurity Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Crime pattern theory
  • Crime generators
  • Property crime
  • Crime hot spot
  • Soccer stadium

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