Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Does cold weather impact crime rates?

The deep freeze gripping the eastern half of the country has become a sort of test case for a popular notion about the relationship between weather and crime: Law-breaking slows when it's cold, and picks up as the temperature rises, reported NBC News.
Reports from many of the places hit hardest by record-shattering cold, including those that rarely see ice or snow, seem to support the theory. Police calls are down in Memphis. Major crimes have plunged in Boston. Rural Medina County, Ohio is enjoying a near-stoppage in property crime. New York just celebrated 12 consecutive days without a murder — the longest such stretch since the NYPD began collecting data in 1994. 
The premise makes sense, anecdotally. It also has been repeatedly tested by researchers, who've come to similar conclusions.
"The general pattern is that extreme weather tends to cause an across-the-board decrease in crime when it's cold," said Matthew Ranson, an economist for the Cambridge, Massachusetts, consulting firm Abt Associates. He recently published results of a study in which he combined 30 years of data across the country and found "a very strong historical relationship between temperature and crime." 
 
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