With Higher Temperatures Comes Higher Crime Rates
During the summertime, people normally look forward to relaxing on the beach and absorbing extra Vitamin D. However, most people don’t know that while they’re soaking up the sun, crimes rates are spiking. More specifically, violent and property crime rates often increase with the warmer weather.
A 2014 study published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that there are seasonal patterns in violent and property crimes. Summer is viewed as a time to chill out and take it easy, but some people allow their frustrations or desires get the better of them.
Reasons for Common Crimes Committed in the Summer
Possible explanations for seasonal fluctuations include the change in weather, the fluctuation in free time during the school year, and the increase in daylight hours.
Weather: Warmer temperatures sometimes correlate with irritable behavior, as strong emotions tend to surface in response to uncomfortably warm weather. With these strong emotions can come strong, emotionally charged behaviors, which can lead some individuals to engage in criminal offenses.
School year: Summer vacation is the long-awaited break of the school year, but while some students are focused on enjoying less responsibilities, others may see this time as an opportunity to commit crimes. To add, more free time paves the way for more alcohol consumption, which can lead to riskier, sometimes illegal behavior.
Amount of daylight: Crimes committed during the day can also increase due to the extended amount of daylight present during the summer months. On average, California experiences 14 hours of sunlight per day during the summer and only about 10 hours of sunlight during the winter.
Types of Common Crimes Committed in the Summer
Violent and property crimes typically increase during the summer. Below are some examples of each:
Violent crimes: Rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.
Property crimes: Burglary, motor vehicle theft, and other household theft.
The 2014 study published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics highlights some results that explain the specific findings regarding seasonal patterns of crime:
- Seasonal patterns existed in household larceny and burglary victimization rates. Rates of these household crimes tended to be higher in the summer than during other seasons of the year.
- When seasonal variations in household property victimization were found, the differences between the highest and lowest seasonal rates were less than 11%.
- Though rates of motor vehicle theft tended to be lower in the spring than in the summer, there were few regular differences between summer, fall, and winter rates.
- Aggravated assault rates were higher during the summer than during the winter, spring, and fall. In comparison, simple assault rates were higher during the fall than during other seasons of the year.
- Robbery rates did not exhibit seasonal variations.
- Rape and sexual assault victimization rates tended to be higher during the summer than during the fall and winter.
- Rates of intimate partner violence were higher during the summer than during the winter, spring, and fall.
- When seasonal variations were found for violent victimization, the differences between the rates of the highest and lowest seasons were less than 12%.