Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino opened its doors in September 2010 after years of protests from community members who feared that the casino would lead to an increase in neighborhood crime. However, a new study by researchers at Drexel University and Temple University reveals that these concerns were unfounded.
The study, which used geolocated crime data to examine change in crime volume in the immediate neighborhood environment of the casino since its opening, found that crime rates in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia were largely unaffected by the introduction of the gaming establishment. The researchers found that any potential significant crime increases either did not occur or were effectively controlled by a reassignment of existing local police officers.
The study, entitled “A Partial Test of the Impact of a Casino on Neighborhood Crime,” was published online by Palgrave MacMillan’s Security Journal, a peer-reviewed journal for security researchers and professionals. It is expected to run in an upcoming print issue of the journal.
The study was conducted by Lallen T. Johnson, PhD, an assistant professor of criminal justice in Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences, and Jerry H. Ratcliffe, PhD, a professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University.
“The arrival of the gaming industry to the city of Philadelphia was met with much controversy and protest,” said Johnson in a prepared statement. “In particular, anti-casino community activists and organizations believed that gambling would lead to increased crime and disorder. Early discussions about the arrival of SugarHouse revolved around whether the added tax revenue would outweigh the social cost of the expected increased crime. Although reasonable concerns, our findings suggest that these negative expectations did not play out in this case.”
For a copy of the full study, visit www.drexel.edu.