Are Freezing Temperatures Preventing NYC Murders?

Are Freezing Temperatures Preventing NYC Murders?

There's one group who's definitely loving the cold weather—the NYPD. Through Friday morning, there had been no murders in New York City since January 16, and authorities believe the cold weather is a major factor. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly says the department is "rooting" for more of it.

The New York Post believes that freezing temperatures are preventing homicides for the moment. A source told the Post"I’m sure the weather helps cut down on the numbers. A lot of murders occur on the street. It’s too cold to hang out outside... It’ll pick up again in the spring and summer. Always does."

That's definitely true, and the New York Times had some pros break down the relationship between weather and crime:

“Some have argued that there is something about cold that actually inhibits aggression — literally the effect that cold has on the brain,” said Ellen G. Cohn, a professor of criminal justice at Florida International University. She added, however, that she believed cold reduced violence primarily for a different reason: fewer people are likely to be on the streets, which, she said, means “victims and offenders are less likely to come into contact with each other.”

Craig A. Anderson, a psychology professor at Iowa State University, said he, too, believed that some of the decrease had “to do with people probably hunkering down inside” during cold spells. But he noted that the cold, even as it suppressed street violence, could lead to an increase in domestic violence, which largely occurs indoors. And he observed that some research actually suggested that uncomfortable levels of cold could increase people’s irritability and aggression, just as heat does.

Unfortunately, a man was fatally shot in Queens yesterday, ending the streak. NYC is coming off of a year where it witnessed a record-low in homicides, so let's hope that trend continues, regardless of the weather. 

[via Gothamist]

Stay Connected with
Complex City Guide
Tags: new-york-city, freezing-temperatures, murders, homicides
blog comments powered by Disqus