Researchers analyzing crime trends in the United States found that violent crimes such as assault, domestic violence and rape occur at a much higher rate when the weather is warm.
In their report titled “Seasonal Patterns in Criminal Victimization Trends,” researchers examined patterns in violent and property crime over the course of 18 years. They found that although the overall rate of crime has decreased since 1993, annual crime tends to spike during the summer months.
“Good weather means people are out and about. It also means there are more opportunities for crimes,” said one police chief. “During cold weather, people tend to stay inside.”
According to the data, winter rates of rape or sexual assault were about nine percent lower than the summer, while crimes rates dipped about 10 percent during the Fall.
Why The Spike?
There are a number of reasons crime spikes in the warm summer months. Avery Appelman explains below.
Temperature – As alluded to above, the warm weather means more people are outside. The days are also longer. When you have more people outside in parks, bars or at the beach, you’re bound to have more interactions, some of which could be physical.
Alcohol – This one goes hand in hand with the temperature. The warm weather lends itself to barbecues, trips to the beach and late nights on a bar’s outdoor patio. Alcohol can escalate a situation and make it harder for a person to think rationally. It’s no surprise as a DUI law firm that our busiest weekends of the year are Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day, as these three-day weekends are often rung in with spirits.
School is Out – I’d be interested in seeing how juvenile crimes fluctuate during the summer, but it makes sense that certain property crimes like vandalism or trespassing would spike in the summer when children aren’t required to be in school. If children aren’t kept busy during the summer, their boredom may lead them to commit risky or criminal activities.