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Spectator Violence in Stadiums

NCJ Number
Tamara D. Madensen; John E. Eck
Date Published
August 2008
84 pages

This guide suggests procedures for addressing spectator violence in stadiums and other arena-type settings.


It opens with a discussion of the factors that contribute to such incidents. One set of factors pertains to the characteristics of a particular stadium or arena. Spectator violence is more likely to occur when spectators and players/entertainers are in close proximity to one another; when there are extreme noise levels, when spectators do not have individual seats or are required to stand, when temperatures are high, and when the neighborhood around the facility is plagued with violence. Another set of factors related to spectator violence pertains to event characteristics. This set of factors encompasses crowd demographics, event significance, performance quality, alcohol availability, crowding, performer behavior, and event duration. Another set of factors in spectator violence involves staff characteristics, including training, experience, their number, and communication. This guide provides a list of questions that should be asked in analyzing the risk for spectator violence at a given stadium/arena. The questions pertain to the frequency of spectator violence at a given stadium/arena, the locations/times of incidents, victim characteristics, venue characteristics, and current and previous responses to spectator violence. This guide also discusses measures for determining the effectiveness of responses to spectator violence. The guide concludes with suggestions for general and specific responses to spectator violence. Responses are categorized according to venue, event, and staff. Responses with limited effectiveness are also noted. 114 notes, 78 references, and appended summary of responses to spectator violence in stadiums and suggestions for developing a comprehensive response to spectator violence in stadiums