Editor’s update: At the bottom of the Washington Post article, they link to all the individual game data per team. Here is how each season breaks down for the 49ers.
2015: 145 (18.13 per game)
2014: 210 (26.25 per game)
2013: 28 (3.5 per game)
2012: 42 (5.25 per game)
2011: 29 (3.62 per game)
It’s safe to say the enforcement policies changed dramatically when the team moved from Candlestick Park to Levi’s Stadium. I might look more into Candlestick security vs. Levi’s security. That’s kind of insane how drastically it changed.
The NFL is a game built around violence, but more and more violence in and around stadiums has become an ugly but common feature of football games. There were numerous instances of fan violence at 49ers games at Candlestick Park, and the issue has not gone away entirely at Levi’s Stadium.
Friday morning, the Washington Post recently released a thorough look at stadium arrests between 2011 and 2015. According to the study, arrest rates at stadiums have fluctuated, but they are trending “slightly upward on a per-game basis since 2011.” They provided a map detailing where the most and least arrests were happening. The 49ers appear to be No. 6. The top five is as follows (arrests per game):
1. San Diego Chargers - 24.6
2. New York Giants - 22.5
3. New York Jets - 21.5
4. Oakland Raiders - 17.8
5. Pittsburgh Steelers - 16.8
They used various sized circles to differentiate, and the 49ers appear to be just a notch smaller than the Steelers, but slightly bigger than the Green Bay Packers. It does not provide specifics on the types of arrest. Additionally, Cleveland and New Orleans did not provide details, Atlanta, Detroit, and Minneapolis provided arrest information for inside the stadium, but not for incidents outside the stadium, and St. Louis offered up yearly data, but not game-by-game data.
It is not overly surprising the study indicated divisional games and night games resulted in the most arrests. Additionally, when the home team loses, arrests increase. The report said the 49ers have consistently been in the group of teams rated as needing improvement in game-day security. Additionally, the study found arrests tended to go up when the 49ers, Steelers, and Eagles play road games, and arrests go up 70 percent when the Raiders are the road team.
The NFL has a lot of problems right now. They have a poor product on the field. They have an inconsistent discipline policy that suggests in spite of their PR statements, they are not concerned with actually doing anything about domestic violence. Oh, and of course they have the issue of head injuries and CTE. Ratings are down for a variety of reasons, and fan safety remains a notable issue.
The league hired Cathy Lanier, former chief of police in Washington, D.C. to head up the NFL’s security department. It will be on her and others to figure out ways to make games safe. People are still going to go to games, but the issues of alcohol and the violence that often accompanies it is something the league needs to address. There are way too many videos floating around of fans getting into brawls and turning these games into disaster zones. Hopefully the new security chief can get some things turned around.