Crime was analyzed in seven new casino jurisdictions (Sioux City, Iowa; Biloxi, Mississippi; Alton and Peoria, Illinois; and St. Louis City and St. Louis County and St. Joseph, Missouri) to determine if crime rates increased after casino gambling was legalized.
To be included in the study, local law enforcement agencies had to make available data for Part I and Part II crimes dating back at least 4 years before casinos opened in their jurisdictions. Crime-specific rates were calculated using both community population and population at risk variables. Results indicated a lack of consistency in general crime trends and in crime-specific analyses. Using crime rates based on the population at risk, three communities had more crimes that significantly increased than decreased, three other communities had more crimes that significantly decreased than increased, and one community had few significant changes in either direction. When the Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test for Paired Differences was calculated for crimes in all seven jurisdictions, few significant differences were found comparing pre- and post-casino crime. Although the conclusions are tentative, it appears the effect of casino gambling on jurisdictions is variable and may depend on local conditions not easily generalizable from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. 26 references, 1 endnote, and 5 tables