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Published in: Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 35, Issue 1, 2007. p. 89-101


Despite their rich theoretical and practical importance, criminologists have paid scant attention to the patterns of crime and the responses to crime during exceptional events. Throughout the world large-scale political, social, economic, cultural, and sporting events have become commonplace. Natural disasters such as blackouts, hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis present similar opportunities. Such events often tax the capacities of jurisdictions to provide safety and security in response to the exceptional event, as well as to meet the “routine” public safety needs. This article examines “routine” crime as measured by calls for police service, official crime reports, and police arrests in Salt Lake City before, during, and after the 2002 Olympic Games. The analyses suggest that while a rather benign demographic among attendees and the presence of large numbers of social control agents might have been expected to decrease calls for police service for minor crime, it actually increased in Salt Lake during this period. The implications of these findings are considered for theories of routine activities, as well as systems capacity.