Cold weather and snow keep criminals off the street. Major crimes have dropped in Boston, NY City reported 12 consecutive days without a murder-NH Union Leader
|Manchester, NH, in front of Kay's Bakery|
"The historic stretch of winter weather gripping New Hampshire in recent weeks is helping to prove an old adage among law enforcement circles: Crooks like it hot. Police say the steady string of storms into the Granite State since mid-January show the special relationship between weather and crime: as the snowflakes and temperatures fall, so do the number of certain types of crime - particularly assaults, burglary and robberies.
"Burglars can be stupid, but they're not completely dumb," said Lt. Dan Bailey of the Nashua Police Department. "They're not going to break into a house when they'll leave footprints in the snow.
Reports from areas hit hardest by record-breaking cold and heavy snow appear to support the idea. Police calls are down in Concord and Nashua. Same thing in Manchester. Major crimes have dropped in Boston. New York City police reported 12 consecutive days without a murder, the longest such streak since the department started collecting crime data in 1994.
"You don't have people out and about," said New Hampshire State Police Major David Parenteau. "If people aren't out, there are fewer potential victims for criminals."
The theory has been tested by researchers, who say the data prove their point.
"Weather has a strong effect on the incidence of criminal activity. For all offenses except manslaughter, higher temperatures lead to higher crime rates," writes Matthew Ranson, an economist for the Cambridge, Mass. consulting firm, Abt Associates.
Ranson recently published results of a study combining 30 years of data across the country and found "a very strong historical relationship between temperature and crime."
Ranson writes in the report that he began looking at the data in an attempt to picture what the world might look like if global temperatures rise. He believes crime, and social disorder, could increase along with temperatures, and said the evidence shows colder stretches over the last 50 years marry up to drop-offs in criminal behavior.
Ranson looked at nine major crime categories, ranging from theft to murder, and reports offense rates decreased when the temperature dropped below about 50 degrees. In most cases, the rates continued to drop as the temperature got colder. The exception was car theft, which jumped when temperatures got below ten degrees."...
Image above from New Hampshire Union Leader, David Lane. via Free Rep.
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