Hard fact: the MTV reality show Laguna Beach totally ruined the city of Laguna Beach. Thanks a lot, Stephen Colletti! Two assistant economics professors at Occidental, neither of whom is stupid about what it takes to get ahead in academia, analyzed crime rates in the city before and after its eponymous show first aired in 2004, using Dana Point as a control. Their paper on the study, "The reality of reality television: Does reality TV influence local crime rates?" was published in yesterday's Economics Letters. The pair found that TV does indeed influence local crime rates--incidence of nonresidential burglaries, auto thefts, and rapes went up in Laguna Beach between 2002 and 2006, when the show went off the air. The paper suggests that the show drew attention to Laguna Beach, but that LB's many gates kept residential burglary numbers low. Hot, angsty teens or not, crime in Laguna Beach is still really, really low.
· Did reality show bring crime to Laguna Beach? [OC Register]