Police officers sometimes refer to summer as the busy season, and for good reason: ample evidence indicates that criminal activity increases alongside the temperature. Below, we examine possible explanations that may drive this disturbing trend resulting in more crime to Northwest Florida cities.
The Evidence: Research Backing Summer’s Rise in Criminal Behavior
Studies highlighting seasonal changes in criminal activity abound. One of the most notable examples was published in the Journal of Urban Health. Leah Schinasi, PhD and Ghassan Hamra, PhD of Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health scoured a decade’s worth of crime data in Philadelphia to determine how rates of violent crime and disorderly conduct varied from one season to the next. Spanning between 2006 and 2015, this data revealed that crime rates increased dramatically when the heat index approached 100 degrees. This was a trend not only between seasons, but also within the same season. For example, in variable weather months such as April or October, crime rates were still higher when warmer conditions were present.
Why Does Warm Weather Bring More Crime to Northwest Florida?
The research is clear: people are more likely to commit crimes when the weather is warmer. At some level, this seems natural; during the winter months, most people prefer to remain indoors. Hence, the stronger association between weather and crime rates in cities such as Detroit or Chicago, where the winters are especially cold.
Interestingly, however, this concept doesn’t seem to apply in the summer, when warmer temperatures would seemingly convince people to remain as close as possible to air conditioning. Some experts theorize that warm weather increases irritable behavior, which is more likely to lead to violence. Critics point to concerns of correlation versus causation in this particular argument. Other factors thought to influence changes in the crime rate include:
- Summer vacations; when not occupied by school, children and teens may be more likely to commit crimes.
- People spend more time outside and around others during the summer, leading to an increased potential for conflict.
- Victims may be more likely to let down their guard in the summer, perhaps leaving their doors unlocked or allowing their children to spend more unsupervised time outside.
Interestingly, alcohol consumption does not appear to be at fault, as research actually indicates that most Americans drink more during the winter months. Ultimately, further data may be needed to determine which of the explanations detailed above are actually responsible for increases in crime — and which are merely the work of correlation.
Looking ahead, seasonal trends in crime rates are of particular concern as researchers address the potential impact of climate change. With more humid days in our future, could the overall crime rate increase accordingly? Experts continue to gather data and hope to have answers soon.
Regardless of what future research reveals, Floridians should not take solace in the region’s year-round warm temperatures. Not only does the weather fluctuate considerably in Florida, it is highlighted by 24/7 Wall St. as one of the nation’s most dangerous states. Warm weather may not be exclusively to blame, but it could play a role.
No matter when or how you are arrested in the Destin area, you deserve quality representation from a criminal lawyer who cares. Attorney John F. Greene understands your concerns and is willing to guide you patiently through every element of the criminal justice system. Call (850) 424-6833 today or reach out online to learn more.