Crime rates tend to rise as the weather warms due to an increase in public activity during the summer, thus making the chance of interactions, particularly hostile interactions, more likely. When school is out during the summer months, many children are left unsupervised and in need of recreational activities. Sadly, those activities often involve crime.
The heatwaves of Chicago summers often lead to an upswing in crime, specifically violent crime. Last spring, Chicago Magazine published a subset of data that showed violent crimes increased when the temperature did. During July of 2012, when the temperature reached a sweltering 100 degrees, sixteen people were shot in a 24 hour period. One of them was a 10-year-old girl trying to seek refuge from the heat near an open fire hydrant.
Though there's a clear connection between Chicago's crime rates and warm weather, the rates remain high throughout the year. Tracy Siska of the Chicago Justice Project points out that the media may have exaggerated the correlation between the crime rate and temperature. Still, the implicit danger of leaving children unattended is undeniable.
At-risk teens had even fewer options last summer due to cuts in programs created to help troubled children, which proved to be a recipe for disaster. For example, one mentoring program that had 2,200 students lost 64 percent of its funding during the previous school year because of lost federal stimulus money. Idle hands are the devil's tool, and when teens are left to their own designs in America's murder capital, the stakes are even higher.