Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Research paper: Crime, weather, and climate change - murder rates up

Climate change in the US to result in 22,000 more murders, 180,000 rape cases and 1.2 million MORE aggravated assults between 2010 and 2099. Potential for headlines when publishing results of this type.  Important to put these numbers relative to current crime rates of course.

Results will depend on which climate model  is used and how these are justified.  Non-linear effects?

These simulations are based on the IPCC's A1B scenario, a \middle-of-the-road" climate change scenario that assumes eventual stabilization of atmospheric CO2 levels at 720 ppm (IPCC, 2000, 2007). I use predictions from two general circulation models: the U.K. Hadley Centre's HadCM3 climate model, and the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research's CCSM3 climate model. The predictions, which are available from an archive maintained by the World Climate Research Programme's Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3), have an interpolated resolution of two degrees of latitude by two degrees of longitude (WCRP, 2007; Maurer et al, 2007).

Crime, weather, and climate change

Matthew Ranson 


This paper estimates the impact of climate change on the prevalence of criminal activity in the United States. The analysis is based on a 30-year panel of monthly crime and weather data for 2997 US counties. I identify the effect of weather on monthly crime by using a semi-parametric bin estimator and controlling for state-by-month and county-by-year fixed effects. The results show that temperature has a strong positive effect on criminal behavior, with little evidence of lagged impacts. Between 2010 and 2099, climate change will cause an additional 22,000 murders, 180,000 cases of rape, 1.2 million aggravated assaults, 2.3 million simple assaults, 260,000 robberies, 1.3 million burglaries, 2.2 million cases of larceny, and 580,000 cases of vehicle theft in the United States.


  • Climate change;
  • Crime;
  • Weather

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