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No Significant Impact of MGM Casino on the Crime Rate in Downtown Springfield, Report Shows

Massachusetts Gaming Commission report found the crime rate stable in downtown Springfield, four months following the opening of MGM Springfield. The Commission revealed the detailed report, compiled by the crime analysis consultant, Christopher Bruce, on Thursday.

Although too early to come to a definitive conclusion, the preliminary results are undoubtedly a good sign. Despite the fact that MGM casino attracts approximately 15,000 gamblers to the area daily, there hasn’t been a spike in crime rate. Regardless, the Commission plans to continue monitoring the impact of the MGM casino and thoroughly analyze some issues, in order to create a more extensive report in the future.

Cathy Judd-Stein, the Commission Chair, reminds that the four-month period isn’t sufficient to draw any definitive conclusion or talk about trends. She does, however, share optimism regarding the early results. The report compared the 2018 results to statistics from the previous five years.

Through collaboration with the local police departments, the Commission aims to gather more data that would allow them to more accurately talk about the correlation between the casino and state of crime in the city.

The key findings of Thursday’s report are the following:

  • September through December, MGM Springfield was visited by over 1.5 million gamblers. Consequently, it was the primary destination for crimes and 911 calls in the region.
  • Despite the somewhat sudden influx of people, the crime rate in Metro City didn’t increase proportionally.
  • Incidents at the MGM casino led to a 1% increased property crime, a 2% increase in violent crime, and a 2% increase in crime in the city, overall. Over 90% of incidents the police responded to lead to arrests.
  • Excluding MGM casino itself, the global increase in crime was mild.
  • The 11-community region experienced both increases and decreases in various types of crimes; the analysis showed no direct correlation with the MGM casino.

In the last quarter of the previous year, the Springfield Police Department has made 903 visits to the casino, with 118 of the incidents characterized as crimes. The Commission’s enforcement unit had its hands full as well, with 1,751 interventions.

“Circumstantial Evidence”

Looking at the numbers alone, most people would hardly find the results positive. However, the report cites “circumstantial evidence” regarding nighttime vehicle thefts. Referring to a wealth of data from previous years, it appears that this isn’t a “new trend” sparked by the appearance of the casino. Rather, it is merely an “intensification of a longstanding problem.”

Interestingly, break-ins, burglaries, robberies, and miscellaneous thefts went down since MGM Springfield opened. Simultaneously, there has been a slight increase in domestic crimes. The Commission believes neither is related to the casino.

However, auto thefts have slightly increased in number. The casino’s parking appears to have been an irresistible target for cat-burglars and car thieves. Still, the number of these crimes hasn’t increased drastically.