Have you heard that violent crime rates tend to increase over the summer? In general, that does seem to be true. Let’s go over the types of crimes that happen more during the summer months, and what could be causing this seasonal spike in violence.
A violent crime is defined as a crime that involves harming or threatening to harm a victim. The FBI specifically states that violent crimes are:
- Non-Negligent Manslaughter
- Aggravated assault
Over time, researchers have studied seasonal patterns for crime. Interestingly enough, the Department of Justice published a report confirming that crime in general increases during the summer. Specifically, the DOJ states increases in property crime, household larceny, and serious violent crimes.
Why Does Violent Crime Increase in the Summer?
You may be wondering, why is violent crime seasonal? After all, if someone wants to commit a violent crime, wouldn’t they do it at any time? There are a few main theories that people use to explain why this increase could be taking place. Let’s discuss.
Many people experience extreme discomfort after a long period of time in the heat. Being from Florida, we’re used to this feeling. However, this discomfort can also lead to people getting angry and agitated after too much heat exposure. An individual’s patience threshold decreases when uncomfortable and overheated, making little issues turn into major problems that trigger extreme reactions. This can potentially turn a minor situation violent.
We all enjoy the sun staying out longer so we have some more daylight to enjoy throughout the week. However, these longer days could also be a reason for an increase in violent crime. More people are out and about as it stays lighter longer, leaving more opportunities for crimes to occur. For example, more people will be out walking in cities at 8pm in July than they would be in December. This provides more opportunity for robbery, assault, or other violent crimes as there are more potential offenders and victims in the same vacinity.
Alcohol is a contributing factor for many crimes year round.
Alcohol makes people:
- More impulsive
- Less aware of their surroundings
- Lack judgment skills
All of these effects and more can lead to trouble. Alcohol is a special risk over the summer months as more people have opportunities to drink and binge drink. Summer holidays like the Fourth of July and Labor Day are typically celebrated with copious amounts of alcohol. Additionally, people are more social during the summer, which usually involves alcohol.
It’s common for people to spend more time with friends and family during the summer. While this is not a bad thing in and of itself, it does provide more opportunities for arguments or altercations to start and potentially escalate to the point of violent crime.
Kids Are Out of School
Juveniles can commit violent crimes, too. Kids being out of school gives them a significant amount of free time. For some, this time is used to engage in more delinquent activities, some of which are violent. Assault is one of the most common crimes that juveniles commit.
Many people go on trips over the summer. On these trips, many of the above factors also play a role. In tourist areas, the streets are more densely populated for longer periods of time, and many vacationers also enjoy alcohol throughout their trip. Additionally, travelers are less aware of their surroundings in a new area. This could make them a target for violent crime. Vacationers are also generally more relaxed and focused on having fun, which prevents them from identifying potential risks to their safety.
Avoid an Arrest This Summer
Our team at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. understands that many violent incidents stem from spur-of-the-moment reactions. We’ve put together some helpful tips and strategies you can use to avoid acting violently this summer and save yourself the trouble of criminal charges.
- Get out of the heat: If you notice yourself becoming frustrated after being outside, get out of the heat. Get a drink, stay in the shade, and relax to get back to your normal body temperature. Doing this will likely help your agitation before you make any rash decisions.
- Consider why: If you find yourself becoming angry, take a second to think about what could be contributing to your feelings. Are you overheated? Have you been drinking? Noticing these factors could help you diffuse the situation in your mind and recognize that what you are experiencing heightened emotions.
- Know your triggers: Know what situations or people trigger you to become more angry. If you can, avoid them. If you can’t avoid them, be proactive by decreasing your alcohol intake or doing other calming behaviors before entering the potentially triggering situation.
- Go home: If you know that being out late presents you with opportunities to commit crimes, or you have a record, take yourself home. This can be extremely difficult, but it’s the best way to avoid trouble.
- For parents of juveniles: You may choose to establish a curfew this summer or otherwise monitor your child’s behavior to ensure that they are not engaging in criminal activity.
Miami Violent Crimes Defense Attorneys
If you are accused of committing a violent crime this summer, our team at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. wants to help. We understand that these serious accusations require an aggressive defense, and we have successfully helped many clients avoid the consequences of a violent felony conviction. Discuss your case with our team today, judgment-free, by calling (305) 330-1360.