June 28th, 2016 by Attorney Dan Carman
It’s here. As the words of that iconic song proclaim, “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.” Time for swimming and no school, sunshine and popsicles, cookouts and a rise in crime. Didn’t see that one coming? Well, it appears that certain criminal activities are more likely to occur in the hot weather.
A 2014 report by the Department of Justice looked at data from 1993 to 2010, examining seasonal patterns of household property crimes (burglary, motor vehicle theft, and household larceny) and types of violence (rape/sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault). The researchers found that, with the exception of robbery, each of the investigated crimes exhibited a pattern of recurrent seasonal fluctuations in their trends, and the most common pattern was that victimization occurred at higher rates during the summer than during other seasons. For example, the nationwide annual rate for rape/sexual assault dropped nine percent in winter compared to summer, while the spring rate was six percent lower and the fall rate was 10.4 percent lower. Burglaries were discovered to be 10.5 percent more common in summer than in winter, almost nine percent more common in summer than in spring, and nearly six percent more common in summer than in fall.
One possible reason for the spike in property crimes is that juveniles – who can be the most frequent perpetrators of such crimes — are out of school. This coincides with the fact that people spend more time away from their homes in the summer, either on vacation or on short trips, leaving plenty of opportunity for exploitation. A factor in the higher incidence of violent crimes may be that the heat aggravates people, straining their good judgment and causing them to lose their tempers more easily. A 2001 psychology paper claims that “hot temperatures increase aggression by directly increasing feelings of hostility and indirectly increasing aggressive thoughts.” Nice weather also increases social interactions and alcohol consumption, which can create some tense situations and more opportunities for violence.
Tips to help avoid becoming a summer crime victim include:
- Do not become lax about locking your doors just because it’s summer.
- Put lights on timers if you’re going away, to give the impression that someone is home.
- Don’t post on social media that you are leaving town and don’t post photos until after you get back.
- Lock your hotel room and don’t give out your room number.
- Plan ahead, stay within well-traveled routes, and walk in groups.
- Keep all purses and backpacks securely closed.
- Lock your doors and close your windows when you leave your car, putting your possessions out of sight or in the trunk.
There are (at least) two sides to every story. No matter what the season is, if you’ve been accused of a crime or have questions about how the law might apply to your situation, discuss it with one of the attorneys at the Lexington, KY-based Carman Law Firm. As criminal defense attorneys with years of experience, we offer thorough, experienced representation. Call today at (859) 685-1055 or fill out this online contact form to find out how we can help you.