PDA

View Full Version : Crime in the rain


Scholar Beardpig
07-11-2012, 07:25 AM
To the academicians and intellectissimas of the Straight Dope:

Today, as I waited in line at breakfast, I chatted with a police officer, and suggested that today (weather forecast - overcast and rainy all day) was a good day for police work, because most criminal types would stay inside and not cause trouble. She told me that in fact, it was just the opposite - criminals are not deterred by inclement weather, and might even seek it out as the best time to do their dirty deeds because they know nobody will be outside to see them.

If there any support to either hypothesis? In times of great rain or snow or other weather hostile to walking around outside, do crime rates shoot up, go down, or stay about the same?

RoniaBorkason
07-11-2012, 10:02 AM
I am also interested in this, I've always assumed that inconvenient times or terrible weather (sleet, etc.) made it much safer. The theory being, I suppose, that criminals in general were lazy. I've heard, though, that early morning is a big time for rapes (of joggers, etc.). I wouldn't think that rapists were really into getting up early (no pun intended). But, maybe I shouldn't get my information on crime risk from Lifetime movies.

Sorry for all of the parenthetical thought.

Lanzy
07-11-2012, 10:32 AM
Its the best time to run stop signs and speed if you want to get the cops soaking wet.:)

Morgenstern
07-11-2012, 10:37 AM
A bank robber was once quoted as calling a rainy day a great day for robbing. He claimed that running from the bank on a rainy day did not draw attention, as everyone ran to avoid the rain.
(saw it on TV)

drachillix
07-11-2012, 10:42 AM
The theory being, I suppose, that criminals in general were lazy.

IANA Sociologist or anything but I was breifly socially exposed to a small cross section of definite criminal types via a g/f (who turned out to be involved in drug trafficking). Just like many high dollar sales centric businesses, when the client wants to meet, you go. If the client wants to meet at 2am in a raging thunderstorm, you meet them at 2am. I have met more than my share of real estate agents who would probably do the same if they knew they were going to close a house that way.

Really Not All That Bright
07-11-2012, 10:51 AM
One of the great things about academia is that somebody is studying pretty much everything (http://www.geog.ubc.ca/courses/geob370/students/class07/crime_weather/misc/weather_and_crime.pdf).
The relationship between rain and crime appears to vary with the type of crime examined. Feldman and Jarmon (1979) have examined the relationship between rain and crime on a day-to- day basis, while DeFronzo (1979) looked at the number of days on which the amount of precipitation exceeded 0.25 mm and Perry and Simpson (1987) considered monthly amounts of precipitation. All three studies found no significant correlations between precipitation and the homicide rate. Neither DeFronzo (1984) nor Perry and Simpson (1987) found any relationship between rain and rapes, although DeFronzo found a positive relationship between rain and robbery.

The relationship between assaults and rainfall is uncertain, because the empirical results are inconstant. Feldman and Jarmon (1979) found a negative correlation between precipitation and assaults while Perry and Simpson (1987) reported a significant positive correlation. DeFronzo found no significant relationship between precipitation and assaults whatsoever. Given that Pokorny (1965) has argued that homicide and aggravated assaults are 'basically the same category of behavior', one would expect homicide and assaults to be similarly related to other variables, including precipitation. However, while the findings on assault are conflicting, the research results show that homicide and rape are not significantly related to rainfall.

Kenm
07-11-2012, 10:53 AM
Even blizzards can't stop crime in Canada (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsxV49pmnL8). YouTube.

Loach
07-11-2012, 11:19 AM
Very non-scientific but backed up with 15 years of anecdotes, I found it tended to be a lot less busy on bad weather days.

Really Not All That Bright
07-11-2012, 01:09 PM
I would give a LEO's opinion more weight than anyone else's non-scientific opinion, for what it's worth.

mhendo
07-11-2012, 01:59 PM
When i lived in Baltimore, a guy on my softball team was a middle-ranking officer in the Washington, D.C. police force. I can't remember his rank, but he supervised over 100 people.

Anyway, i asked him about this once, and he said that crimes like street muggings and car robberies often went down in bad weather, but that things like domestic complaints often went up as people stayed in their houses and had a chance to get on each others' nerves.

mhendo
07-11-2012, 02:11 PM
In addition to RNATB's citation, above, a couple of more recent studies suggest that, while temperature and humidity are a factor in crime rates, the correlation for rainfall is less certain. The first is from the US (Ohio), and the second is from the UK.

An Analysis of the Relationship between Weather and Aggressive Crime in Cleveland, Ohio (http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2010WCAS1043.1?journalCode=wcas) (2010)Results show that summer has the highest aggressive crime counts, while winter has the lowest crime counts. Aggressive crime generally increases linearly as apparent temperature increases, with nonaggravated assaults and domestic violence assaults having the largest response as the weather becomes hotter. The midday and early night hours (i.e., 03001200 LT) have the greatest significant findings relating apparent temperature to aggressive crime.

The influence of weather on local geographical patterns of police calls for service (http://www.envplan.com/abstract.cgi?id=b32133) (2009)We conclude that, in our study area, both temperature and humidity exert significant effects on the spatial patterning of incidents of disorder or disturbances. Rainfall, wind speed, and wind direction were found not to have a significant effect for this type of call for service.

Alka Seltzer
07-11-2012, 02:39 PM
Anyway, i asked him about this once, and he said that crimes like street muggings and car robberies often went down in bad weather, but that things like domestic complaints often went up as people stayed in their houses and had a chance to get on each others' nerves.

Fewer fights outside pubs and bars as well I'd guess.

Tim@T-Bonham.net
07-11-2012, 05:44 PM
The theory being, I suppose, that criminals in general were lazy. I've heard, though, that early morning is a big time for rapes (of joggers, etc.). I wouldn't think that rapists were really into getting up early (no pun intended).Often, these rapists aren't getting up early, they haven't been to bed yet. They have been flying on drugs or alcohol, and may have been awake for many hours (even days, sometime).

MikeF
07-12-2012, 11:51 AM
A bit off topic but, based on my g/f's 10+ years as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (she collects forensic evidence from victims) , most rapes aren't the "man in the bush waiting for a jogger" variety. Date rape, drugging, family member/friend are far more common. Those types of scum bags don't give a hoot about the weather.

Iggy
07-12-2012, 03:46 PM
My anecdotal experience from about 6 years in a 9-1-1 center says rainy days bring an increase in domestic violence, car accidents, and burglar alarms, and a decrease in public order disturbances such as bar fights or public intoxication. Burglar alarms went up due to faults in the system rather than increases in actual burglary attempts.

The classic "it was a dark and stormy night" weather was usually an indicator of a relatively quiet night ahead.

Orionizer
07-13-2012, 07:33 AM
Even blizzards can't stop crime in Canada (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsxV49pmnL8). YouTube.

Damn that was funny! :D

listedmia
07-13-2012, 01:52 PM
Live in New Orleans, spent some time in various other Southern cities here. I got a WAG: A lot of people get shot in drive-bys and such when they're hanging out outside with their friends. Perhaps rainy days would lower that, but so would very, very hot sunny days. Probably evens out overall.

Gatopescado
07-14-2012, 06:10 PM
All I can add is that a heavy, heavy snowstorm will limit visabiltiy to about 20 feet and anything you might want to do, say, 100 yards off the main road ain't gonna be seen by anyone.

And all trace of any activity is covered up real quick.

aceplace57
07-14-2012, 06:48 PM
I'd guess the prostitutes are out of luck in a sleet or snow storm.

Hard being sexy in winter coats and thick clothing unless you find someone with a parka fetish. ;)

rivulus
07-14-2012, 07:02 PM
We always brace ourselves every year in our "up-and-coming" neighborhood toward the very end of August into September. Gun shots go way up right about that time of year, like clockwork, for stupid gang territorial crap or drug issues.

We have hypothesized that because the weather is starting to cool slightly in the evening, it brings the hoodlums out of the AC and onto the streets for the nice weather, where they inevitably piss each other off and start shooting.

Anyone feeling brave and need a dissertation topic? :D

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.