Colder Temperatures Equals Less Crime

In New York City, the weather is having a positive effect on crime rates, never mind the difficulties it causes for residents. Crime has been down by slightly over 11% through February 15 of this year, while the average temperature hovered around 24 degrees as part of the coldest winter in over 80 years.

The same time-frame saw crime down even more, 14.15 percent, in the 114 th Precinct with murders and homicides down slightly as well. Robbery, felony assault, burglary, and grand larceny auto also saw similar decreases this winter.

A homicide on February 13 was the first in the city in 12 days—the longest stretch without a murder since 1994.

Many attribute the drop in crime to the drop in temperatures including Abt Associates economist Matthew Ranson. In a February 20 NBC News report, he is cited as noting, “The general pattern is that extreme weather tends to cause an across the board decrease in crime when it’s cold.”

The Science of Crime & Cold

A 2012 study of the effects of global warming on crime looked at data from four regions of the nation and found a strong historical link between temperature and crime. Crime fell in nine major categories when the mercury fell below 50 degrees and declined more when it became colder. The only outlier, grand larceny auto, went up when the temperature fell below 10 degrees, likely due to car owners who kept their cars running with the heat on.

According to Ranson, the research shows “regardless of where you live, crime goes down when the weather is unusually cold.”

The same report cited a statement from former deputy NYPD commissioner and Chicago Superintendent of Police Garry McCarthy who acknowledged a similar relationship between low temperatures and decreased crime rates in Chicago.

On the other hand, McCarthy rebuffed a deterministic approach to weather, “The weather is an influence on crime but it doesn’t cause nor does it prevent crime.”

When you need help contesting your criminal charges, our New York criminal defense attorney can advise and represent you. Call Michael Musa-Obregon to begin the fight!

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