Crime and Climate

burning planet


A recent study has again found a correlation between continuing climate change and a rise of violent crime across the globe. Researchers determined that for every degree of above-average temperature there was a matching one percent increase in the rate of violent crime.

This study was a collaboration between universities in Abu Dhabi, India and Israel and was published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.

The research team was supplied detailed data on the date and place of a crime along with daily weather data for an area in India with a population of 70 million. The very large size of the sample pool allowed for advanced statistical analysis to more accurately isolate the relationship between weather and crime than was previously possible.

The study differentiates between the physiological phenomenon of hot sweaty days leading to bad behavior versus a slower mechanism that correlates for example, poor crops due to bad weather leading to property crimes.

The head of the study, Dr. Ram Fishman stated that his group “unequivocally demonstrated that climate change has a significant impact on the prevalence of many types of crimes, including violent crimes, crimes against women including rape and harassment, harm to ethnic minorities, and interfaith political and interfaith violence."

Remember Spike Lee’s movie Do the Right Thing (1989) where on the hottest day of the summer, tempers flare, racism rises to the surface and all hell breaks loose. Similarly, in the movie Falling Down (1993), Michael Douglas portrays a character who is stuck in traffic on the hottest day in the history of Los Angeles. His air conditioning fails which triggers an epic criminal rampage that included a rocket launcher and kidnapping. Drastic temps can bring out the worst in people.

A good global risk assessment looks at everything. A political situation or if you will, political climate can be a strong influencer on crime. A shift to defunding police obviously influences crime stats. The pandemic has caused an uptick that continues today of emotion-driven crime and bad behavior. Changes in weather is just another trigger to consider when doing a threat or risk assessment.

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