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How violent crime gets worse in the summer

How violent crime gets worse in the summer

Most types of crime are most likely to happen in summer. But you might be surprised by what sorts of crimes are "summer crimes," and which ones are most common in other seasons — or aren't dependent on the season at all.

A 2014 study, from the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, looked at seasonal patterns in various types of crime in the US. The researchers went through surveys of crime victims from 1993 to 2010, and tried to figure out whether there statistical trends as to when crimes took place: during summer (June-August), fall (September-November), winter (December-February) or spring (March-May).

Because the study didn't include regional breakdowns, it's hard to tell whether it's warm weather that leads to more crime, or whether there's something else going on. And in most cases, the researchers didn't provide explanations for why these seasonal patterns existed. They just identified that the patterns exist.

1) You're more likely to be a victim of violent crime in summer

The researchers found that "serious violence was significantly higher during the summer than during the winter, spring and fall seasons." That includes rape and sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. Among adults, simple assault is also more common in summer than in other months.

Warmer weather and seasons lead to more crime

Intimate partner violence is even more dependent on season than other types of violent crime. There's only a 6 percent difference between violent crime rates for winter and summer, but there's a 12 percent difference in intimate partner violence between the coldest and warmest times of the year.

2) Your house is much more likely to be broken into in the summer

The biggest seasonal trend the researchers found wasn't in violent crime — it was in property crime, and specifically household burglary. Burglary is 11% more common in the summer than in the winter — that's more seasonal variation than for any other single type of crime.

But burglary is actually much less of a "summer crime" than it used to be. A past version of this study, which looked at 1973-1977, found that burglary was 23% more common in summer than in winter. That's twice as much seasonal variation as burglary rates show today.

Burglary_bjs

3) The beginning of the school year is the most dangerous time for teens

Simple assault is the only type of crime that's more common in fall than any other time of year. The reason for this isn't that it's somehow an autumnal sort of crime; it's that teens are disproportionately the victims of simple assault, and teen crime patterns are different from adults.

Among adults, simple assault is most common in the summer — just like any other sort of violent crime. But teens are actually safest in summer, when they're out of school. It's when they get back to the classroom in the fall that they're most at risk for simple assault.

Teen_assault_bjs

During the summer months, violent crime rates tend to increase. While the exact reasons are multifaceted and debated among criminologists, several factors contribute to this seasonal spike:

Increased Social Interactions: Warmer weather encourages people to spend more time outdoors, leading to greater social interactions. Unfortunately, not all interactions are positive, and disagreements can escalate into violence when opportunities for conflict arise1.

  • Longer Days: Extended daylight hours provide more time for people to engage in activities, both positive and negative. With more daylight, there’s a higher chance of interpersonal conflicts leading to violent incidents.
  • Youth Activities: Teens are out of school during the summer, which means they have more free time. While it’s unclear whether this directly correlates with increased violent crime, some incidents have been linked to large gatherings of teenagers in public spaces1.
  • Heat and Aggression: Some studies suggest that hot temperatures may directly impact aggression levels. However, it’s essential to note that the effect of temperature on crime rates is most pronounced during warm days in traditionally cold months, not just during the summer.
  • Crime Types: Certain criminal activities are more common during the summer. These include household larceny, burglary victimization rates, aggravated assault, rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence. The reasons behind these specific crime patterns are complex and may involve a combination of environmental, social, and behavioral factors.

Remember that while crime rates do tend to rise during the summer, it’s essential to focus on community safety and preventive measures. Whether it’s securing your home or being aware of your surroundings, taking precautions can help mitigate risks during this season
 Stay safe!

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