I congratulated a law enforcement official on a recent drop in crime in his city and he responded “I’d love to take credit, but it was the frigid weather last fall — in this job, I pray for hail and sleet”. On the other end of the temperature gauge, extreme heat also appears to reduce crime. Moderate heat causes agitation and may therefore lead to more physical violence, but when the mercury crosses 90 or so, most of us are simply too tired to kill each other.
I believe I am dead last among RBC bloggers in terms of knowledge of climate change and crime, so I tread gently here, but I wonder if climate change — particularly the change in the prevalence of extreme weather — will result in some re-allocation of crime rates around the world. One could imagine that a city like New York that gets 10 more incredibly frosty days and 10 more incredible stifling days a year would benefit in terms of a crime drop, whereas a city like Helsinki might lose some incredibly frosty days and therefore see a rise in crime.
This is all rank speculation of course, but that’s my favorite kind : )