Can the Weather Affect Crime Rates? New Study Says, "Yes"

A new study says that crime rates can change with the weather. More specifically, criminal activity rises with the temperature. The study, conducted by a research firm, suggested that global warming could increase the number of violent crimes and other offenses throughout the next century.

This month, the L.A. Times reported an increase in criminal activity on an hourly and weekly basis as springtime weather approach many areas, such as California.

Some researchers believe that, over the next 80 years or so, rising global temperatures will lead to 580,000 thousand cases of car theft, 2.2 million instances of larceny, 1.3 million additional burglaries, 260,000 robberies, 2.3 million assaults, 1.2 million cases of aggravated assault, 180,000 instances of rape, and 22,000 additional murders.

While these numbers may seem startling, the actual percentages are relatively small. The number of robberies, for example, will increase 1% between 2010 and 2099.

Although we can't know the actual impact that changing weather will have on crime, the study demonstrates one fact: hot temperatures will impact more than crops and water usage. In fact, increasing crime rates could influence the economy as well.

According to the L.A. Times, the additional crime will cost between $38 billion and $115 billion. One researcher said, "A 1% to 3% increase in a particular crime may seem modest, but for victims, survivors and law enforcement, the burden of those numbers can be very substantial."