Crime and Weather Free Essay Samples & Outline

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Sample Essay On Crime and Weather


The study of crime and what causes it has been researched in a variety of different areas using different techniques all over the world. One of the factors that are believed to have an influence on criminal activity is weather. There is majority of literature that has been able to investigate the relationship that exists between weather and crime, and they have come with conclusive data that indeed weather does affect crime.

Research has been able to identify the correlation that exists between crime and weather and therefore, understanding more about weather as a variable of crime. By being able to research about new variables such as weather, law enforcement are often given a better understanding of how weather affects crime and they therefore, have a chance to better prepare their departments during weather conditions which are known to influence crime.

Literature review

(Cohn & Rotton, 2003) discusses the different methods of archival data of serious disorders that had taken place in the United States and analyzes the effects that heat had on violence of the people. (Cohn & Rotton, 2003) stated that data between the year 1967 and the year 1971 deeply shows that indeed there exists a relationship between ambient temperature and the incidence of collective violence.

Therefore, if there is high temperature, the probability of a riot will increase. Further, (Cohn & Rotton, 2003) also found that there was positive correlation that existed between the assault rate and rise of temperature. In order to determine this (Cohn & Rotton, 2003) had been able to analyze the relationship that existed between assaults and heat in the city of Newark and New Jersey in a period of one year. (Cohn & Rotton, 2003) showed that heat variables were the most important and most effective predictors of assault rates.

It is important to understand that the discomfort index (DI) is an index that is often used to analyze the relationship which exists between heat and violence. Using the same methods, (Cohn & Rotton, 2003) also discovered the relationship that existed between heat and robbery, domestic violence and rape. However, robbery and homicide did not in any way show any relevant correlation between heat and them.

(Ikegaya & Sugamani 2008) discusses the relation that exists between high temperature and violent crimes in the city of East Tokyo. The methods that (Ikegaya & Sugamani 2008) use includes collection of data of temperature during months of summer and dividing the types of crimes into both nonviolent and violent crimes. (Ikegaya & Sugamani 2008) using the data that they had collected was able to correlate the minimum, average as well as maximum temperatures in the city of Tokyo

Through their research, (Ikegaya & Sugamani 2008) found out that aggressive behavior increases as the temperature rises. According to his data, the mean for the violent crimes were extremely higher during days that had high as compared to other days that had low. In order for (Ikegaya & Sugamani 2008) to set up his research he had to use the research methods of Baron and Ransberger (1978).

The results of these two experiments however differed greatly this is because Baron and Ransberger (1978) had found out that aggressive behavior drops off in the mid 80’s. However, this information was conflicted by (Ikegaya & Sugamani 2008) who argued that indeed aggressive behavior did not fall but rather it increased with temperature with the optimum temperature for violent crime being around 90’s and above. Therefore, it can be argued that (Ikegaya & Sugamani 2008) overall study showed that there existed a positive relationship between heat and aggressive behavior and this generally led to increased criminal activity in the city of East Tokyo. This was especially true in manslaughter which occurred more in sunny days.

(Falk, 1952) performed a study that involved the effects of weather on crime. The weather variables used consisted of temperature and precipitation. According to his findings they found evidence which directly supported that violent crimes as well as different property crimes were caused by weather variables that were under study. It is important to understand that the methods that (Falk, 1952) used included the use of violent crime data that and the use of history from other different quarters and districts in the United States.

The methodology of the research involved the use of panel econometric techniques on the daily weather and daily crime in the United States. The study showed that a crime will more often be committed if the expected utility of doing the crime actually exceeds the cost. This therefore, means that if a criminal finds that it is not easy to be caught, then the expected cost of committing the crime decreases. This was also one of the first studies to analyze the relationship that exists between property crime and weather.

If the weather is hot, people are likely to be absent from their home and this often gives the opportunity for theft as well as burglary to occur. They also theorized that indeed bad weather often reduces the crime rate in the property crime. This is because the criminals in most cases in bad weather are less motivated to commit crimes and further, the houses are more likely to be occupied during bad weather conditions (Falk, 1952).

This information is important as it can be able to help different law enforcement officials to prepare for service calls depending on either good or bad weather conditions. Further, patrols can be increased on the streets during ‘fine’ weather days as these are days when property crime is more likely to happen Falk, 1952).

(Lopez & Lauritsen, 2012) used different variables in their research study; they included, rainfall, hours of sunlight and temperature. The data used was based on quarter to quarter police data and sometimes month to month. It is important to understand and note that just like the study that was performed by Horrocks & Menclova, (2008), Falk, 1952) also found the same result. He found out that there existed a positive relationship between higher temperatures and property crime. When temperatures increase, people often spend more time outside their home and this increase the rate of property crime.

(Lopez & Lauritsen, 2012) used data from the 1993-2008 National victimization survey. They also used time regression models which were use to describe the seasonal differences in violent victimization and reporting rates. The results of the experiment showed that there were seasonal trends among the youth in terms of violence in contrast for young and older adults. This was primarily due to the high risk of victimization that occurred in and near a school. There was however, no evidence that seasonality is found in the extent to which serious violence is known to the police (Lopez & Lauritsen, 2012). It was determined however, that simple assault was significantly higher during summer months.

(Banziger & Owens 1978) in their article Geophysical variables and Behavior: II. Weather factors as predictors of local social indicators of mal-adaptation in two non-Urban areas. They discuss field setting research in order to try and create a link between temperature and aggressive behavior. They examined the relative predictive strengths of around eight weather factors using separate dependent variables such as monthly figures for community mental health intake, felony arrests, juvenile complaints, drunk driving arrests, medical case holds, calls to a telephone hotline, and mortality rates in tow non-urban areas of the state of Ohio.

There was the use of in step-wise multiple regressions in order to get Z-score transformation of the subjective discomfort ( Banziger & Owens 1978). It is of the essence to understand that with the exception of hotline calls, each other social indicators in the two localities were significantly affected by a weather factor. In factor, weather factors, taken together can be said to have accounted for about 10% of the variance of each social indicator (Banziger & Owens 1978). There was the use of a balanced approach to the behavioral effects of the geophysical variables in order to avoid the problems of over generalization as well as the exaggeration of the different effects of weather factors on social indicators.

(Harries & Standler, 1988) focused their study on the city of Dallas, during the summer of the year 1980 and the year 1981. (Harries & Standler, 1988), measure the thermal stress by discomfort index (DI) that involved the influence of humidity acting vis a vis temperature and ambient temperature.

(Harries & Standler, 1988) placed neighborhoods into three different social economic levels, firstly there was the low, then medium and finally there were those of high status. Their research findings found out that indeed the reduction of aggression with increasing temperature does not occur within any normal range of temperatures. Their findings suggested that there exists no curvilinear effect that exists between aggression and temperature not even during conditions of extreme heat.

However, it is of the essence to understand that these research methods that were used by (Harries & Standler, 1988) were limited as compared to other research methods used by others because their time frame was shorter. Therefore, there was the probability of errors during this research. It is also of importance to critically understand that the study by (Harries & Standler, 1988) took only three months during the period of summer 1980 and 1980 which therefore, means that this gave the study a six month period of data to analyze.

The experiment by (Harries & Standler, 1988) has been brushed off by many scholars especially the likely of (Horrocks and Menclova, 2008) that argue that the experiment was not conclusive in any way and the methodology that was used by (Harries & Standler, 1988) was skewed and this is the reason as to why they got different results as compared to everyone else.


Falk, G. (1952). The influence of the Seasons on Crime rate. Journal of Criminal law , 199-212.
George Banziger, K. O. (1978). Geophysical variables and Behavior: II. Weather factors as predictors of local social indicators of maladapation in two non-Urban areas. psychological reports , 427-434.
Hiroshi Ikegaya, H. S. (2008). Correlation between Climate and crime in East Tokyo. Canadian Journal of criminology and criminal justice , 226-238.
Harries, K. D., &Stadler, S. J. (1988). Heat and violence: New findings from Dallas field data,1980 –1981. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 18, 129 -138.
James Rotton, E. C. (2003). Global Warming and U.S Crime Rates: an application of Routine activity theory. Environment and Behavior , 802-825.
Kristin Lopez, J. L. (2012). Seasonal Variation in violent victimization: Opportunity and the annual rythm of the school calendar. Journal of criminology , 399-422.