You have probably heard people talk about crime rates jumping in the summer months. Maybe you thought it was a myth or an urban legend. Maybe you assumed that person was basing the observation off of one personal event, not national statistics.
But was that person right? Does crime actually increase during the summer months?
It does. Reports show a very consistent spike, year after year. It does not even matter what the national trends are doing. That spike remains. For instance, between 1993 and 2010, the total crime rate for the United States dropped by a stunning 70 percent. That's the overall drop, though, spanning decades. On a month-by-month basis, crime still fell more during the winter, jumped up during the summer, and then started falling again.
These increases can be significant. Some studies found that rates went up by 11 to 12 percent. That's a huge increase based upon nothing more than a change in the seasons.
The next question is simple: Why does summer see this increase? There are a few potential reasons.
Some researchers believe warm weather is to blame. It puts more people outside, in public, where they can interact with each other. More interactions lead to more crimes. People stay inside and keep to themselves during the winter.
On top of that, some have noted that the heat can make people uncomfortable. That can lead to aggression. Could someone act out, committing a crime, simply because they're uncomfortable and unhappy about it? This could be the type of catalyst that escalates a road rage situation, for instance.
That warm weather comes with longer days. People go out for the day and stay away longer, which some believe leads to an increase in property crime because properties sit unattended more often. In the winter, people stay home and prevent some property crimes from taking place.
Researchers have also pointed to summer vacation as a potential issue. Students are in school for nine months, occupied with school work, classrooms, sports teams and everything else that comes along with high school and college. In the summer, they spend three months without school and the structure it provides. While some students work, not all find jobs. Those without jobs often have little money and a lot of time on their hands.
Experiments with teen centers back up this theory. They have helped reduce crime, perhaps because they simply get teens connected and give them something else to do. How much crime comes from little more than sheer boredom?
One thing is for sure: Arrests will spike this summer. They always do. Those who get arrested must know all of their legal rights. In the event that you find yourself in this unfortunate position, please contact my office so that I will be able to help you.