Tag Archives: Climate and crime

American Geophysical Union study: Warmer winter temperatures linked to increased crime

18 Nov

Ohio State Researchers wrote about the impact of climate on crime in How does climate affect violence? Researchers offer new theory:

Researchers have long struggled to explain why some violent crime rates are higher near the equator than other parts of the world. Now, a team of researchers have developed a model that could help explain why.
This new model goes beyond the simple fact that hotter temperatures seem to be linked to more aggressive behavior.
The researchers believe that hot climates and less variation in seasonal temperatures leads to a faster life strategy, less focus on the future, and less self-control – all of which contribute to more aggression and violence….
Paul van Lange, lead author of the study and a professor of psychology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) added, “We believe our model can help explain the impact of climate on rates of violence in different parts of the world….”

The CLASH model states that it is not just hotter temperatures that lead to more violence – it is also climates that have less seasonal variation in temperature.
“Less variation in temperature, combined with heat, brings some measure of consistency to daily life”, Rinderu said.
That means there is less need to plan for large swings between warm and cold weather. The result is a faster life strategy that isn’t as concerned about the future and leads to less need for self-control.
“Strong seasonal variation in temperature affects culture in powerful ways. Planning in agriculture, hoarding, or simply preparing for cold winters shapes the culture in many ways, often with people not even noticing it. But it does shape how much a culture values time and self-control,” Van Lange said.
“If there is less variation, you’re freer to do what you want now, because you’re not preparing foods or chopping firewood or making winter clothes to get you through the winter. You also may be more concerned with the immediate stress that comes along with parasites and other risks of hot climates, such as venomous animals.”
People living in these climates are oriented to the present rather than the future and have a fast life strategy – they do things now.
“We see evidence of a faster life strategy in hotter climates with less temperature variation – they are less strict about time, they have less use of birth control, they have children earlier and more often,” Bushman said.
With a faster life strategy and an orientation toward the present, people have to practice less self-control, he said. That can lead people to react more quickly with aggression and sometimes violence.
The theory is not deterministic and isn’t meant to suggest that people in hotter, consistent climates can’t help themselves when it comes to violence and aggression…. https://news.osu.edu/how-does-climate-affect-violence-researchers-offer-new-theory/

The American Geophysical Union studied the link between temperature and crime.

Science Daily reported in Warmer winter temperatures linked to increased crime:

Milder winter weather increased regional crime rates in the United States over the past several decades, according to new research that suggests crime is related to temperature’s effect on daily activities.
A new study published in GeoHealth, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, finds U.S. crime rates are linked to warmer temperatures, and this relationship follows a seasonal pattern.
The findings support the theory that three major ingredients come together to bring about crime: a motivated offender, a suitable target, and the absence of a guardian to prevent a violation of the law. During certain seasons, namely winter, milder weather conditions increase the likelihood these three elements come together, and that violent and property crimes will take place, according to the new study. Unexpectedly, warmer summer temperatures were not linked with higher crime rates.
The new research abates existing theories that hot temperatures drive aggressive motivation and behavior, according to the study’s authors. Instead, the new research suggests crime is related to the way climate alters people’s daily activities.
“We were expecting to find a more consistent relationship between temperature and crime, but we weren’t really expecting that relationship to be changing over the course of the year,” said Ryan Harp, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. “That ended up being a pretty big revelation for us.”
Understanding how climate affects crime rates could expand the boundaries of what scientists would consider to be a climate and health connection, Harp said.
“Ultimately, it’s a health impact,” he said. “The relationship between climate, human interaction, and crime that we’ve unveiled is something that will have an impact on people’s wellbeing.”
Regional climate affects human interaction
Previous studies have found a link between temperature and the incidence of crime, but none have looked at the relationship on a regional level and only some have controlled for underlying seasonal changes, allowing researchers to identify the potential underlying mechanism…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181113110411.htm

Citation:

Warmer winter temperatures linked to increased crime
Date: November 13, 2018
Source: American Geophysical Union
Summary:
Milder winter weather increased regional crime rates in the United States over the past several decades, according to new research that suggests crime is related to temperature’s effect on daily activities.
Journal Reference:
Ryan D. Harp, Kristopher B. Karnauskas. The Influence of Interannual Climate Variability on Regional Violent Crime Rates in the United States. GeoHealth, 2018; DOI: 10.1029/2018GH000152

Here is the press release from the American Geophysical Union:

WARMER WINTER TEMPERATURES LINKED TO INCREASED CRIME, STUDY FINDS
13 November 2018
WASHINGTON — Milder winter weather increased regional crime rates in the United States over the past several decades, according to new research that suggests crime is related to temperature’s effect on daily activities.
A new study published in GeoHealth, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, finds U.S. crime rates are linked to warmer temperatures, and this relationship follows a seasonal pattern.
The findings support the theory that three major ingredients come together to bring about crime: a motivated offender, a suitable target, and the absence of a guardian to prevent a violation of the law. During certain seasons, namely winter, milder weather conditions increase the likelihood these three elements come together, and that violent and property crimes will take place, according to the new study. Unexpectedly, warmer summer temperatures were not linked with higher crime rates.
The new research abates existing theories that hot temperatures drive aggressive motivation and behavior, according to the study’s authors. Instead, the new research suggests crime is related to the way climate alters people’s daily activities.
“We were expecting to find a more consistent relationship between temperature and crime, but we weren’t really expecting that relationship to be changing over the course of the year,” said Ryan Harp, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. “That ended up being a pretty big revelation for us.”
Understanding how climate affects crime rates could expand the boundaries of what scientists would consider to be a climate and health connection, Harp said.
“Ultimately, it’s a health impact,” he said. “The relationship between climate, human interaction, and crime that we’ve unveiled is something that will have an impact on people’s wellbeing.”
Regional climate affects human interaction
Previous studies have found a link between temperature and the incidence of crime, but none have looked at the relationship on a regional level and only some have controlled for underlying seasonal changes, allowing researchers to identify the potential underlying mechanism.
In the new study, Harp and his co-author conducted a systematic investigation into the relationship between large-scale climate variability and regionally-aggregated crime rates, using a technique that allowed them to group together detailed spatial data on seasonal temperature and crime rates from across the United States.
They compared crime and climate data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR). The data encompassed 16,000 cities across five defined US regions—Northeast, Southeast, South Central, West, and Midwest—from 1979 to 2016.
Their finding that violent crime is almost always more prevalent when temperatures are warmer in the winter months was especially notable in areas with the strongest winters, like the Midwest and Northeast, according to the researchers.
The new findings showing that increasing temperatures matter more in the winter than in the summer is interesting, said Marshall Burke, assistant professor of Earth System Science at Stanford University, who was not involved with the new study.
“The authors rightly suggest that this is more consistent with warmer temperatures altering people’s patterns of activity, like going outside more, than a physiological story about temperature and aggression,” he said.
The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing 60,000 members in 137 countries. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and our other social media channels.

There are various theories regarding why individuals commit crimes.

Steven Briggs wrote in Important Theories in Criminology: Why People Commit Crime:
Here is a broad overview of some key theories:

• Rational choice theory: People generally act in their self-interest and make decisions to commit crime after weighing the potential risks (including getting caught and punished) against the rewards.
• Social disorganization theory: A person’s physical and social environments are primarily responsible for the behavioral choices that person makes. In particular, a neighborhood that has fraying social structures is more likely to have high crime rates. Such a neighborhood may have poor schools, vacant and vandalized buildings, high unemployment, and a mix of commercial and residential property.
• Strain theory: Most people have similar aspirations, but they don’t all have the same opportunities or abilities. When people fail to achieve society’s expectations through approved means such as hard work and delayed gratification, they may attempt to achieve success through crime.
• Social learning theory: People develop motivation to commit crime and the skills to commit crime through the people they associate with.
• Social control theory: Most people would commit crime if not for the controls that society places on individuals through institutions such as schools, workplaces, churches, and families.
• Labeling theory: People in power decide what acts are crimes, and the act of labeling someone a criminal is what makes him a criminal. Once a person is labeled a criminal, society takes away his opportunities, which may ultimately lead to more criminal behavior.
• Biology, genetics, and evolution: Poor diet, mental illness, bad brain chemistry, and even evolutionary rewards for aggressive criminal conduct have been proposed as explanations for crime. https://www.dummies.com/education/psychology/important-theories-in-criminology-why-people-commit-crime/
One crime reduction strategy is predictive policing.
The National Institute of Justice described predictive policing:
Overview of Predictive Policing
Law enforcement work is frequently reactive: Officers respond to calls for service, quell disturbances and make arrests. Today more than ever, law enforcement work is also proactive.
In proactive policing, law enforcement uses data and analyzes patterns to understand the nature of a problem. Officers devise strategies and tactics to prevent or mitigate future harm. They evaluate results and revise practices to improve policing. Departments may combine an array of data with street intelligence and crime analysis to produce better assessments about what might happen next if they take various actions.
What Is Predictive Policing?
Predictive policing tries to harness the power of information, geospatial technologies and evidence-based intervention models to reduce crime and improve public safety. This two-pronged approach — applying advanced analytics to various data sets, in conjunction with intervention models — can move law enforcement from reacting to crimes into the realm of predicting what and where something is likely to happen and deploying resources accordingly.
The predictive policing approach does not replace traditional policing. Instead, it enhances existing approaches such as problem-oriented policing, community policing, intelligence-led policing and hot spot policing.
Predictive policing leverages computer models — such as those used in the business industry to anticipate how market conditions or industry trends will evolve over time — for law enforcement purposes, namely anticipating likely crime events and informing actions to prevent crime. Predictions can focus on variables such as places, people, groups or incidents. Demographic trends, parolee populations and economic conditions may all affect crime rates in particular areas. Using models supported by prior crime and environmental data to inform different kinds of interventions can help police reduce the number of crime incidents…. https://www.nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/strategies/predictive-policing/Pages/welcome.aspx
Learn more about NIJ’s predictive policing and geospatial police strategies research. https://www.nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/strategies/predictive-policing/Pages/research.aspx

Crime reduction strategy is based upon a variety of factors which affect the crime reduction strategy used in a particular locale.

Resources:

Crime & Crime Prevention: Community Crime Prevention Strategies https://www.crimesolutions.gov/TopicDetails.aspx?ID=10

5 Common-Sense Ideas to Combat Crime https://www.citylab.com/equity/2013/05/5-common-sense-ideas-combat-crime/5527/

Effective Crime Reduction Strategy Includes Prisoner Re-Entry https://www.justice.gov/usao-edmi/archived-district-reports/effective-crime-reduction-strategy

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