With over 200,000 festival-goers flocking to specific areas throughout the summer season, crime rates can increase by as much as 250% in their respective areas. Using our market intelligence, we investigate what impact this has on residential property in festival locations.
Read time: 6 minutes
It was our good friends, DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, who coined the poetic words “Summer, Summer, Summertime. Time to sit back and unwind.” While we agree with the principle of unwinding in theory, surely neither have experienced the highs of Glastonbury and all that mud.
Summertime is indeed festival season. From Glastonbury to Reading, and everything in between, people line up in their droves to embrace the fields and parks across the UK, all so that they can see their favourite artists perform.
While festivals are undoubtedly lots of fun – whether you’re watching the flavour of the month on stage at Glastonbury, getting down to soca sounds at the Notting Hill Carnival, or feeling the love at Lovebox – the sheer presence of these festivals creates an uptick in temporary populations.
And more often than not, a larger volume of people results in a greater number of incidents, from extra congestion to an increase in crime rates. But do crime rates in the areas where festivals take place increase dramatically during season?
Much like our football and crime statistics article, we’ve crunched the numbers and looked at the impact festivals have on local crime rates in four different areas, including Glastonbury and parts of London.
Glastonbury Festival doesn’t actually take place in the medieval Somerset town of Glastonbury. It in fact resides in the small village of Pilton, and there’s good news if you’re a local. Pilton residents get free Glastonbury tickets, which would certainly take the edge off the hassle of all the traffic and noise – and maybe even prove an incentive to move there for Glasto-fans.
Pilton’s post town is Shepton Mallet, which is where we’ve chosen to examine local crime stats during the festival. Using our market intelligence from 2017 (there was no festival in 2018 as it was a fallow year), here is an overview for the 12 months between June 2016 and June 2017.
With a low population, it’s no surprise to see that crime rates are generally at a minimum in Pilton. The two glaring omissions were in June 2016 and 2017, which is of course when Glastonbury Festival took place. A steady average of 100 crimes per month skyrockets to around the 350 mark when the festival is in town.
There’s no “lightbulb moment” conclusion here: the 2011 census has Pilton’s population at 998, while more than 200,000 people attend Glastonbury. With this sudden population increase, the rise in crime rates is to be expected. An argument could be made that 350 arrests in a sea of 200k-plus people is actually a fairly acceptable outcome.
Leaving the small village of Pilton, next we head to West London, where one of the capital’s most iconic festivals takes place every August. The Notting Hill Carnival is legendary, encompassing two fun-filled days of bustling street parties.
With a population of 28,000-plus, the area of Notting Hill is arguably a much better equipped to deal with the increase in numbers when a festival is on.
The above figures focus on the 2017 and 2018 iterations of the carnival in the W11 postcode. Much like Glastonbury, there is a clear distinction between crime rates in the carnival month and those in between.
There is an average of just over 350 arrests per month in the month between September and July, with the number spiking to well past 800 in August, which is when Notting Hill Carnival takes place.
Of these arrests, anti-social behaviour was by far the most common. “Other theft”, such as leaving stalls without payment, is the second highest crime. It’s no surprise to see anti-social behaviour ranking so high, as it’s often associated with events such as festivals and football matches.
When it comes to live dance music, there aren’t many places better than Creamfields for listening to some techno. Taking place in Daresbury, Warrington, 25,000-plus flock to Creamfields each year to enjoy sonic sounds let loose.
Daesbury has a population of just 216, according to the 2011 census. A 25k increase over a weekend is likely to put stresses on resources and policing, which is why it’s no surprise that crime rates increase significantly.
Throughout the year, crime rates stay fairly steady – between 20 and 40 per month. When Creamfields is in town, the arrests increase dramatically. Interestingly, the 2018 iteration of Creamfields saw significantly less arrests than the 2017 incarnation.
As far the type of arrests go, drug-related crimes are the most common. Again, this isn’t particularly surprising, as festivals have a history with drug use. Though, it’s important to remember that 10 drug-related arrests out of 25,000 festival goers doesn’t exactly paint an epidemic.
Exploring crime rates of areas that host festivals is fairly straightforward when said festival is located somewhere that doesn’t have a high population. But when it comes to the British Summer Time (BST) festival, the opposite couldn’t ring more true.
Located in Hyde Park, BST takes place in one of the UK’s busiest areas – whether there is a festival in town or not. Even when you look at the park in isolation from the local areas, it’s still hard to garner just how much of an impact a festival has. This is especially true, as Hyde Park hosts public events frequently throughout the year.
July 2017 saw the highest crime rates in the 12 months to July 2018, with December seeing the second biggest spike. With Winter Wonderland being a huge Christmas attraction in Hyde Park, it’s no surprise to see crime rates picking up in the final month of the year.
The British Summer Time festival likely had an impact on July crime rates in Hyde Park, but it probably wasn’t the only factor – especially with there being several events going on in the park throughout the months of July, August and September.
It’s clear to see that crime rates rise considerably when there is a festival in town. It’s an interesting parallel with football stadiums, where crime rates don’t spike considerably during matches. One of the reasons for this could be down to the fact that football matches take place at least 19 times a year in any given area.
The result means the police are better equipped to deal with the increase in numbers on a regular basis. With festivals happening once a year, however, preparations – no matter how good they are – aren’t always as efficient when it comes to dealing with the significant numbers of people that come with going to a festival.
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