Temperatures, Murders Down In Baltimore, But No Long-Term Correlation


As temperatures dipped in February and March, Baltimore’s homicide count dropped as well, prompting many on social media to wonder if there’s a correlation, says the Baltimore Sun. In February, 10 people were killed, seven in March. The last time Baltimore saw so few people killed in one month was June 1983. While February and March’s low homicide totals correspond with low temperatures, in January — also a cold month — 27 people were killed. That’s 14 homicides over the monthly average during the past four years. While many crimes show seasonal trends, criminologist Gary LaFree of the University of Maryland said cold weather does not have as much of an impact on homicides because many are domestic-related. That can cause homicide totals to tick upward in winter because so many people live in close confines. Comparing weather data with monthly homicide figures shows no clear correlation. In January 2004, the 11th-coldest January on record, 23 people were killed in Baltimore. That’s nearly five homicides above average for the month.

What was the temperature in June 1983, the last time Baltimore saw just seven homicides in one month? Weather data recorded at BWI shows the average temperature for the month was 72.1 degrees. The same weather-crime questions are often debated in Chicago, a city that is experiencing a sharp decrease in violence. Late last month, Chicago police said all shooting incidents, including gun killings, were down 30 percent in the first two and a half months of the year, compared to the same period in 2013. Homicides also decreased, from 58 to 49. Yet the winter has been Chicago’s third-worst in terms of freezing temperatures and snow accumulation.

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