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President Donald Trump, pictured at a New Hampshire campaign rally in February 2016.

Credit: Ilana Wurman

Cities that held presidential campaign rallies for Donald Trump experienced 2.3 more assaults than average on the days they held the rallies, according to a recent Penn study. The study found no link between frequency of assaults and rallies for Hillary Clinton.

Epidemiology researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine tracked crime rates in cities with populations over 200,000 on days with Trump and Clinton rallies leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Then, they compared these crime statistics four weeks before and after the event in order to potentially observe a link between the rally and crime. 

While this link was not found in relation to Clinton’s rallies, the researchers discovered that cities experienced an average of 2.3 more assaults on days that Trump rallies were held. 

“This research provides evidence that this increase in assaults is associated with candidate Trump’s rallies leading up to the election,” Epidemiology professor Douglas Wiebe, who is also the senior author of the study, said in the Daily Mail. “Violent language may have affected the mood and behavior of rally attendees, as well as those exposed to the rally through news reports and social media.”

In their study, researchers used assault data from the cities' police departments, including aggravated assaults, simple assaults, and battery. 

“To prevent similar violence in the future, it is important to understand the underlying causes of this behavior,” the study's lead author Christopher Morrison, who is a fellow in Penn’s Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, said in EurekAlert. “Perhaps including the role that political rhetoric might play in normalizing or promoting violence.”