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Does crime increase in the summer time? Experts say yes

Experts cite not only the heat leading to aggressive behaviors, but more daylight hours, kids being out of school, and more foot traffic outside of homes.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Is crime seasonal? It's always been said that the hotter months generate more criminal activities. It's also assumed that warmer temperatures make people more angry and irritable.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, you're more likely to be a victim of a violent crime during the summer months.

Experts cite not only the heat leading to aggressive behaviors, but more daylight hours, kids being out of school, and more foot traffic outside of homes.

"So, if we look at the last five years of data that we have available which is only through 2019, every year in Arkansas and Little Rock, crime has increased in the summer during the months of June to August compared to the other months of the year," said Tara Martin with UA Little Rock.

She's a criminal justice professor and says there's been a 10% increase for crime in the summer time for both the city of Little Rock and the state of Arkansas.

The biggest increase for the city is aggravated assault and theft.

According to records from the Little Rock Police Department, there were 10 homicides last year versus smaller numbers in previous years.

Arkansas Baptist College Professor Edmond Davis says he doesn't want people to just associate the heat with increased crimes. 

"When you look at Alaska, they have thirty days of night. It's always cold there, but they have some of the highest crime rates," said Davis.

He says it's other factors that give people the opportunity to commit more crimes in the summer time. His friend and ex-felon Antoine Jones would agree. 

Jones is now the CEO of Empowering My Environment, but says his teen years were spent running around Little Rock with his friends committing petty crimes.

"Mothers don't have money to send them to boys clubs. Fathers don't have money to send them to after-school programs, so a lot of kids are at home raising themselves while their parents are at work," said Jones.

Summer time crimes don't just increase with violence either, according to Martin.

"Some of our early theories were based on the idea that people get agitated when they're hot, but that would only explain an increase in violent crime, and so a better explanation is that people engage in different activities during the summer," said Martin.

People are outside of their homes more, which means they're more likely to run into someone who wants to hurt them in a violent crime.

When cars are parked in garages and people are out on vacations, robberies and car thefts are likely to occur.

"During the summer, we know that younger people are more unsupervised because they're not in school. So, there is a possibility that they might get into more trouble than they would if they had school the next day," said Martin.

    

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