Last month in Dallas, when temperatures were at least 100 degrees every day except one, both violent and property crimes were up slightly from the same month last year, says the Dallas Morning News. Overall, crime rates have declined in recent years and are down for 2011. The heat doesn't necessarily cause violence, experts warn. The reasons behind a violent summer surge are hard to pinpoint, said criminologist Alex Piquero of the University of Texas at Dallas.
“There is a link between extreme heat and sources of violence,” Piquero said. “But there hasn't been a lot of research done to flesh out that link to try to understand what is that thing that lies between the heat and the extra violence.” The heat forced Dallas police to stop Operation Heat Wave, a summertime effort where officers flood neighborhoods across the city to gather tips and reduce property crime. While the intense heat doesn't directly fuel domestic violence, it could make an unsteady home situation even worse, said Paige Flink of The Family Place. An expensive power bill or utilities that get turned off could spark a fight between a couple that's already stressed out about finances.