New York City’s homicide total dropped 22 percent in 2011’s first two months. The Wall Street Journal wonders whether heavy snow in the city during January was a bit reason. Th theory that bad weather helps reduce crime is based on the belief that fewer people on the streets means fewer potential victims. Criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University says violent crime increases as the weather warms, and crime tends to be less pronounced during cold months or oppressively hot ones.
The high level of snowfall in 2011 has presumably pushed more people indoors. In 2010 a greater percentage of those killed through March 8 — 60 percent — were murdered indoors, compared to about 54 percent killed indoors this year. That means the snowy weather that keeps people off the streets might not actually help prevent murders.