Hot Summers and Homicides – Does Weather Impact Crime?

There’s a common perception that hot weather drives up crimes like homicides in big cities. However, while hot summers tend to see more crimes, not all types of offenses are susceptible to temperature changes.

A study in The Chicago Tribune looked at police data from the start of 2012 to June 2017.

It took 1.5 million incidents into account, including drug charges, larcenies, and shootings and correlated them with changes in average daily temperatures.

Study looked at heat and homicides

Study looked at heat and homicides

The study showed some types of crime increase with temperatures but others do not.

The Tribune built a model that attempts to predict the number of crime incidents, per type, of offense for every 10 degrees increase in temperature.

The model found the crime of battery, which includes shootings, is the offense most closely linked to the weather. When temperatures rise, so do batteries. There is also a strong link between higher temperatures and theft and criminal damage.

Contrary to popular belief, the number of homicides does not spike when temperatures increase, nor do drug crimes. The study showed a slight correlation between higher temperatures and burglaries

The climatic data for the model was derived from the Midwest Regional Climate Center.

It’s not the first time a link has been made between hot weather and violent crime.

An article in The Atlantic noted the most detailed study in this area was carried out by psychologists Ellen Cohn and James Rotton of Florida State University.

The pair studied offenses over 24 months in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The study found violent crime rises with temperature, but only up to a point.

After the mercury reaches 80 degrees, violent crime falls because people become more lethargic, the study found.

Rising levels of violent crime in Chicago over the last two years led to federal assistance this year. Although the relentless rise in homicides in Chicago appears to have stopped, the city still leads the national murder table and homicides are running at about the same level as in 2016, reported the Washington Times.

If you have been arrested for a violent crime, contact Abdallah Law for a free and confidential case evaluation.