Seasonal Crime Rates: How does Weather Affect Crime?

Crime rates and weather are, surprisingly, linked in a number of ways. While it might sound odd, the temperature outside has a rather profound effect on the occurrence of crimes in a given area. As a result, seasonal changes in crime rates are to be expected throughout the year. Today we’re breaking down this phenomenon.

Seasonal Crime Rates

The Dog Days of Summer

Generally speaking, the days with the highest rates of crime tend to be the later days of summer. The “Dog Days” of summer, as they’re called, have very long daylight hours and some of the highest temperatures of the year. While these aren’t the only factors, they do tell us a few things.

Firstly, more daylight hours means that more people are out for longer than usual. This means that there are more chances to altercations or crimes of opportunity to arise. The same goes for the temperature. Warmer weather means more people will be out in public for longer, which offers more chances for friction with the law.

Winter Blues

We see the inverse effect occur during the short, cold days of Winter. Crimes still occur, of course, but crimes of opportunity and altercations go down dramatically. People spend more time indoors and passions aren’t nearly as high when it’s freezing cold outside.

Likewise, Fall has a somewhat lower incident rate of crime than Summer and Spring, while Spring has a somewhat higher rate than the two colder seasons. These conditions could changed based on the region, as well. For instance, regions with longer, colder Winters tend to be more resistant to these changes, as people are more accustomed to the cold.

This also means that police departments can staff based on weather conditions. During the hottest days of summer, for instance, police departments tend to field more patrol officers to keep the peace. Likewise, the winter season requires less cars patrolling than normal.