Street crime rates may rise now that daylight saving time is ending this Sunday, says a study reported by The Oregonian. That is because extra sunlight during the evening commute helps suppress robberies and rapes. “Most street crime occurs in the evening around common commuting hours of 5 to 8 p.m. and more ambient light during typical high-crime hours makes it easier for victims and passers-by to see potential threats and later identify wrongdoers,” economists Jennifer Doleac and Nicholas Sanders wrote in a study forthcoming in The Review of Economics and Statistics.
The paper is the first systematic study of the relationship between Daylight Saving Time and violent crime rates. Robberies drop about 7 percent after the annual shift to daylight saving time, Doleac and Sanders found, drawing on the detailed crime data that about one-quarter of U.S. law enforcement agencies reported to the FBI from 2005 to 2008. The evening crime dip doesn’t mean that criminals shift their violent behavior to the morning. “It’s just not an opportune crime hour,” Sanders told The Oregonian. “People’s schedules aren’t as consistent. They may not want to get up. For whatever reason, criminals allocate their behavior to the dark hours.”