WASHINGTON DC, – From the Texas school mass shooting to the Tulsa hospital shooting and many other incidents that are rarely reported, why are shootings so common in America?
The recent spate of gun violence across America points to a trend the Police Department has long predicted: homicide rates increase in warmer weather.
That thinking has also been researched by criminologists for decades. Recent research has also explored the relationship between temperature and crime rates.
Then, why in America often shooting occurs when the temperature is warm or summer? Here’s why according to experts contacted by AFP news agency.
1. Many people go out in warm weather
United States. First, “It’s hard to shoot someone if no one is around,” David Hemenway, professor of health policy at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, told AFP.
He explains why gun crimes have a lower number of cases in bad or cold weather.
Another reason why there are so many shootings in America in the summer is the heat itself, which, while pushing people out of their homes, can trigger conflict.
In addition to being the cause behind the increasing wave of gun violence in the United States, hot weather also shows the world is rapidly warming due to climate change.
2. Emotions due to high temperature
Why anger can increase blood pressure, the impact of anger. Hemenway said he had long been interested in researching the relationship between hot temperatures and higher crime rates, given stereotypes about the north-south divide in the United States and Italy, and between Scandinavian northern European countries and southern Mediterranean countries.
In 2020, he co-authored a paper in Injury Epidemiology led by his graduate student, Paul Reeping, who researched the city of Chicago between 2012-2016.
This paper uses a report from the Chicago Tribune to derive the number of shootings per day, then matches it against daily high temperature, humidity, wind speed, temperature differences from historical averages, and type and amount of precipitation.
They found that a significantly higher 10 degree Celsius temperature was associated with 34 percent more shooting on weekdays, and 42 percent more shooting on weekends or holidays.
They also found that a temperature 10 degrees Celsius higher than the average temperature was associated with a 33.8 percent higher firing rate.
In other words, Hemenway said, not only is it warm in the summer, but when it’s warm to be another reason why there are so many shootings in America.
“In winter, there is more shooting on days that are not as hot as summer, but warm for winter.”
Another recent paper led by Leah Schinasi of the University of Drexel and published in the Journal of Urban Health in 2017, looked at crime rates in Philadelphia.
“I live in Philadelphia, and I remember cycling home from work on a very hot day and seeing how fussy everyone is,” he told AFP.
“I’m interested to see if these observations mean higher crime rates on hot days.”
He and co-author Ghassan Hamra eventually found that crime rates were more common in the warmer months–May to September–and highest on the hottest days.
When temperatures hit 21 degrees Celsius during that time period, the daily rate of violent crime was 16 percent higher than the average daily temperature of 6 degrees Celsius in the middle of the month.
The opposite is most striking on days with low temperatures from October to April.
3. High gun ownership
Hemenway believes both of the main hypotheses on the matter–that more people are out opens more possibilities for hostile interactions, and heat itself makes people more aggressive–could be true.
A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2019 involved placing students in Kenya and California in hot or cold rooms to measure their impact on a number of behavioral categories.
It was found that “heat significantly affects individuals’ willingness to destroy other participants’ assets” in the form of gift cards and vouchers.
However, Hemenway admits that why there is so much shooting in America, there is a much bigger driver than temperature: the high rate of gun ownership.
The fact that there are approximately 393 million guns circulating in the United States in 2020, more than the population of “Uncle Sam’s Land”. In addition, many states have in recent years relaxed rather than tightened gun use.
According to Hemenway, rampant shootings in the United States could be prevented by encouraging people to do more to keep them off street corners on the hottest days of summer, and increasing police presence in key areas based on forecasts.
“It’s a kind of harm reduction,” Hemenway said.
“But even if it wasn’t about guns, I suspect we’d find the same thing about fighting and assault. What guns do makes hostile interactions more deadly,” he concluded about why in America there are so many shootings in the summer.