Christmas Holiday Violence Surge? It’s a Myth, Data Show


Although a man dressed as Santa Claus is alleged to have shot and killed six members of his family and himself on Christmas morning near Dallas, it’s a myth that violence rates rise as people become emotionally disturbed over December holidays, says December is one of the year’s least violent months. A 1997 U.S. Justice Department study said hospitals treated the highest numbers of violence-rated injuries in June, July, and August, and only 8 percent of such injuries were treated in December.

In 2007, one of the few recent years for which daily data are available from the Mortality Statistics Branch of the National Center for Health Statistics, there were fewer reported homicides on Christmas than on most other days in December. While police chiefs sometimes claim that domestic violence increases over the holidays, they don’t have much hard evidence. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reported a drastic decrease in call volume on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Thanksgiving during a study period running from 2004-10.

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