VERIFY: Does crime increase in the summer?

When the heat rises, does crime follow suit? We find out.

TAMPA BAY, Fla. --  Summer is in full swing, which means thunderstorms, pool days, and picnics. You might have heard summer also means more crime.

I took a look at the facts to verify whether crime actually does go up in the summer and if so, why?

QUESTION: Does crime go up during the summer?

SOURCES

St. Petersburg Police

Tampa Police

Department of Justice: Report on Seasonal Crime

PROCESS

Data from the Bureau of Justice from 1993 to 2010 found household crime tends to be higher in the summer but not by much. Even in the most extreme cases, crime only increased by about 10 percent.

Looking back just a few years, St. Petersburg Police data also showed crime peaking in July however, the month of May and months around the holidays weren't far behind.

St. Petersburg 2014 crime statistics

St. Petersburg 2016 crime statistics

St. Petersburg 2017 crime statistics

Tampa PD's crime statistics peaked in December and January, also aligning with holidays.

Tampa 2015-17 crime statistics

ANSWER

Overall, crime goes up in the summer, but here in Tampa and St. Pete, the holidays are another season to be on guard.

"There’s a lot of retail activity going on and generally we see more fraud and more theft," said Yolanda Fernandez, spokesperson with St. Petersburg Police.

Crime around the holiday season makes sense but what makes summer appealing to criminals?

QUESTION: Why does crime go up during the summer?

SOURCES

Dr. Stacey Scheckner, psychologist

Justin Buster, reformed teenager

PROCESS

Dr. Stacey Scheckner, a licensed psychologist in Tampa explained the heat of the summer has an effect on emotions and decision-making.

"When we are very hot, we're outside, especially in Florida, it's very humid, we have a tendency to get triggered more. We might get angry more." Scheckner explained.

Another reason for summertime crime isn't about biology -- it's about boredom. Justin Buster used to get into trouble but now at 19 years old, he's focused on going to school and staying on the right path.

Buster said, "When you have nothing to do, you just get really bored, you just find something to do, you end up with the wrong crowd, mix up with the wrong people, and then you know, get in trouble."

CONCLUSION

The heat of the summer season can trigger aggression and violence thus increasing crime. There's also more opportunity for teenagers to make poor choices and stay out late when school's out.

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