Will Climate Change Cause Higher Rates of Crime?

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 20 2014 8:46 PM

Study: Crime Will Increase With Rising Global Temperatures

146484178-rialto-police-investigate-the-death-of-rodney-king-on
Will rising global temperatures also bring more crime?

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In addition to increasing the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, climate change is also likely to increase crime according to a new study published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. Over the next 100 years, the costs of that extra crime could run as high as $115 billion. Here’s the LA Times with the details:

Between 2010 and 2099, climate change can be expected to cause an additional 22,000 murders, 180,000 cases of rape, 1.2 million aggravated assaults, 2.3 million simple assaults, 260,000 robberies, 1.3 million burglaries, 2.2 million cases of larceny and 580,000 cases of vehicle theft. …
Compared with the number of crimes expected to occur during this period in the absence of climate change, these figures represent a 2.2% increase in murders, a 3.1% increase in cases of rape, a 2.3% increase in aggravated assaults, a 1.2% increase in simple assaults, a 1% increase in robberies, a 0.9% increase in burglaries, a 0.5% increase in cases of larceny and a 0.8% increase in cases of vehicle theft, the study says.
Advertisement

Criminologists have long observed that higher temperatures correlate with higher crime rates. This latest study, which broadens that notion, combined FBI crime data from the last 30 years with temperature and precipitation records and projection models to reach its conclusion. And for those of you in the clutches, or near clutches, of the polar vortex, asking yourself, what higher temperatures? Here's this: new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show that this January was, globally, the fourth warmest on record.

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Nov. 21 2014 1:38 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? See if you can keep pace with the copy desk, Slate’s most comprehensive reading team.