Does an NFL Lockout increase crime?

Ray Lewis gave an interview to ESPN stating that he believes if the NFL lockout continues, it will lead to an increase in crime.  Ray Lewis, a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, states:

Do this research if we don’t have a season — watch how much evil, which we call crime, watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game,

I know everyone’s first thought is that Ray Lewis is hinting that if the NFL lockout continues, and players do not get paid, that many of the players will turn to a life of crime to help pay the bills.  However, Lewis is really not indicated that the players will turn to crime, but rather the people who depend on the players and owners for a job and/or some type of financial backing.  Lewis continues:

There’s too many people that live through us, people live through us,… Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I’m not talking about the people you see all the time.

It seems that Lewis is really point towards the “hanger-on’s” and “posse’s” that many NFL players have, as well as other dependents who live in poor financial conditions.  It is known there are a number of athletes who do have such groups, but I wonder if having a lockout would really increase the crime rate.  Lewis does end noting that the two sides (the owners and NFL players) need to get back to the negotiating table and get a deal done, as he knows many people who are hurting from the lockout.

On another thought, I wonder if the lack of NFL to watch on Sunday’s and Monday night’s in the Fall could lead to an increase in crime rate because of individuals having “nothing” to do.  Instead of sitting at home and watching games, some people might instead go out looking for something else to do, and in some cases this could lead to crime.  I don’t think that this would hold true in all communities, and I’m not suggesting there is going to be a national crime wave (I believe Ray Lewis is not suggesting this either), but there are probably some communities that could be affected if the NFL is in lockout.

Of course, all of this could be a great tactic by Ray Lewis to get into the negotiations between the owners and players.  He hasn’t been part of any of the negotiations, but has been hinting that he wants to be part of the talks.  Either way you take it, Ray Lewis always makes good headlines.

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