MTV Reality Show Caused Crime Wave: Study

Laguna Beach led to more robberies, rapes, study says
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2010 4:15 PM CDT
Updated Aug 1, 2010 11:02 AM CDT
In this image released by Virgin America, actress Kristin Cavallari , best known from the MTV reality series "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County" checks out the seat-to-seat in-flight text message system...   (AP Photo/Virgin America, Bob Riha, Jr.)

(Newser) – MTV's Laguna Beach contributed to a rise in crime in the real Laguna Beach, a new study suggests. Researchers from Occidental College analyzed crime statistics from 2004 to 2006, when the popular reality series was on the air—and perhaps turning the ritzy, gated enclave into a tourist hub. The researchers found that non-residential burglaries and rapes posted steady increases every year the show was on the air, AOL News reports.

Critically, the same crime increases didn't rise in nearby Dana Point, which is similar to Laguna Beach in nearly every demographic. The "Laguna Beach effect" came out to an additional 50 burglaries every month and an extra rape about every three months. The rise is "statistically significant," writes AOL's Paul Kix. "Residents have to wonder if they should have kept their town's doors closed when MTV came calling."

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