The Los Angeles Dodgers played phenomenal baseball in August. The team compiled a 21-6 record during the month and drew more than 40,000 fans to almost every home game.
However, something besides cheering was often happening in the Dodger Stadium stands on those warm summer evenings. The Los Angeles Police Department reported 31 crimes on stadium property in August, the highest total in a single month since the department made its data publicly accessible in 2010.
The reports included 15 cases of battery. That is more than the rest of the season combined—between the Dodgers’ April 9 home opener and July 31 there were 12 assaults in the stadium, according to police.
Type of crimes reported at Dodger Stadium in August
“They’re related to the games in the stadium, people drinking,” LAPD Capt. Gary Walters said. “Sometimes you might get a car broken into in the parking lot.”
According to Walters, who oversees the LAPD’s Northeast Division that includes Elysian Park, the department does not handle patrols within Dodger Stadium. The team employs its own private security, often including off-duty LAPD officers, to respond to scuffles that break out between fans, and other matters.
Incidents that show up in LAPD data reflect escalated encounters where on-duty police responded to the stadium, or where a crime report was filed with the department.
The Dodgers did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
A problem with Houston
What made Dodger fans so frisky during the 17 home games in August? Some of it involved a pair of contests against the Houston Astros on Aug. 3-4. It was the first time the Dodgers hosted the team since the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal was exposed in 2019. The cheating occurred during the 2017 World Series, with many Dodger fans feeling they were robbed of a championship.
According to police, there were seven assaults over the two days, with six occurring during or after the second game.
Monthly total of criminal reports at Dodger Stadium, January 2016-August 2021
Some Dodger fan behavior from the games went viral, including the throwing of inflatable trash cans from the stands in right field.
Other incidents were far more serious. The LAPD responded to three cases of battery during the series in which a security guard was the victim.
Walters suggested that the rise in crime during the month may have been related to the number of fans flocking to the stadium as the economy reopened.
“I was a little surprised at that number of crimes over the month of August,” Walters said. “Once we opened the stadium back up to having full capacity games, I think a lot of people were eager to get in there and celebrate.”
The tally of incidents in August is more than twice as high as any other month in the past decade. In April 2014, there were 21 crimes reported. During the height of the regular season the number of reports is often in the low teens.
Crime in the area in August was not limited to the stadium. In adjacent Echo Park—home to many bars and restaurants that fans frequent—there were 35 LAPD reports in the week of Aug. 16-22, when the Dodgers had a homestand. In each of the two previous weeks there were 27 reported criminal incidents.
Crimes during the month included a pair of Aug. 22 instances of criminal threats on Stadium Way, one of the access roads to the ballpark. An individual whom police identified as a former intimate partner approached two women and threatened to kill them. An arrest was made.
Another incident during the month came outside of the stadium. On Aug. 7, a fan was leaving the game when he was knocked to the ground and robbed. Police reported the victim was intoxicated and would not cooperate with the investigation.
While the vast majority of people in the stands behave themselves, and rarely do more than heckle the opposing team or fans, there has been a history of ugly incidents at Dodger Stadium. After the opening game of the 2011 season, Giants fan Bryan Stow was beaten in the parking lot. He suffered brain damage. In 2019, a man was attacked while walking to his car following a night game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
How we did it: We examined publicly available crime data from the Los Angeles Police Department. For neighborhood boundaries, we rely on the borders defined by the Los Angeles Times. Learn more about our data here.
LAPD data only reflects crimes that are reported to the department, not how many crimes actually occurred. In making our calculations, we rely on the data the LAPD makes publicly available. LAPD may update past crime reports with new information, or recategorize past reports. Those revised reports do not always automatically become part of the public database.
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