Cities Find Summertime Crime Rates May Be 35 Percent Above Normal


Some police departments deploy extra officers when the weather warms up and crime rates rise. To gauge typical crime patterns, Governing magazine reviewed monthly data that 384 larger law enforcement agencies reported to the FBI between 2010 and 2012. On average, monthly crime for seven major offense types increased nearly 10 percent between June and August over the rest of the year. While it's too early to say how most cities fared this year, many police agencies and local governments initiated efforts aimed at limiting summer crime. “It's almost a cliché in the northeast that things get busier in the summer for police,” said Michael Maxfield of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “They expect it.”

In Erie, Pa., totals for the seven major crime types rose by an average of 35 percent during the summer months, one of the highest increases nationally. The city's harsh winters likely help push down crime totals, and police there also see more activity from visitors during the summer months. A few of the law enforcement agencies that registered the steepest fluctuations in crime serve summer tourist destinations. In Virginia Beach, Va., crime increased an average of nearly 23 percent. A few million people visit the city's oceanfront each year, and 30 percent of those arrested are from outside the area. A number of theories offer explanations for higher levels of crime in the summertime. Jerome McKean of Ball State University said it's mostly that there are more opportunities for crime to occur. “There's a large pool of potential offenders and victims who are more vulnerable that time of year,” he said.

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