High temperatures lead to increase in crime
As temperatures soar across the world there has been a disconcerting rise of another metric: crime.
It’s true, no one likes being hot and sweaty but new data taken from the last decade of heatwave studies alludes to the fact that when temperatures get above the 25-degree mark, so does the chance that you’ll break the law.
The global heatwave of 2018 – which led to arctic wildfires – for example, lead to record 999 calls in the UK says the BBC. Police said that people were reacting “very strangely”, and that people reporting crimes had gone up 40 per cent.
In Mexico, there is more organized crime in warmer weather, a phenomenon that some academics refer to as a ‘taste for violence’. And in South Africa, scientists have seen that there is a 1.5 per cent increase in murders on days when the temperature is above 25C.
Similar patterns have been observed across Africa, Taiwan, the United States, Finland and Spain. In Australia, hospital admissions increase 7.4% when temperatures reached 27C.
So how does the heat contribute to crime? Well, high temperatures make everyone angrier, stressed and less happy. Times this by an entire population, and that puts everyone in a bad mood which leads to harmful behavior.
Studies in the US back this up. NFL players are more likely to engage in overaggressive penalties, journalists are more prone to use negative language in their reporting, and more people strike and quit their jobs when it’s hot.
There are also some biological reasons for it. Hot weather increases our levels of testosterone, which makes us more aggressive. That might account for the fact that cases of domestic violence are 12 per cent higher in the US in the summer, than the winter.
So the next time you feel the temperatures start to rise, remember to stay cool. Literally.
Esquire now has a newsletter – sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox.