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Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Climate Change and Crime Rates

     On August 1, 2013, in the academic journal Science, three University of California at Berkeley researchers published an article entitled "Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict." The authors, based on their analysis of sixty other studies, concluded that even small increases in temperature causes rises in assaults, rapes and murders as well as increases in group conflicts and war. The researchers believed this to be true in the United States and around the world.

     The authors' prediction of rising temperatures and rising crime rates assumed a global temperature increase of at least four degrees Fahrenheit over the next fifty years. The authors predicted that between now and 2050, the world will experience a 65 percent increase in war and civil unrest. Citing spikes in assaults, domestic violence, rape and murder in the United States during heat waves, the researchers predicted that worldwide the rate of these crimes will jump 16 percent.

     Criminologists, psychologists and psychiatrists have been arguing for decades over the causes of crime. Overpopulation, broken homes, failing schools, poverty, drugs, hormones, personality disorders, mental illness, depression, childhood abuse, pornography, guns, spiritual decay and violent video games have been blamed for violent crime in the United States.

     The truth is, no one has figured out why some people commit serious crime and others do not. Social scientists who study criminal behavior agree on just two things: young people commit more crimes than older citizens; and men tend to be more violent than women. When considering why people act the way they do, too many variables makes a unifying theory impossible.

    The three University of California at Berkeley academics, none of whom were a criminologist, psychologist or psychiatrist, claimed that global warming was a key factor in the cause of violent behavior. These researchers were not only linking violent behavior to climate, they told us exactly how much crime will go up depending on how hot it got. 

     Over the years social scientists have published a lot of nonsense. This is particularly true when the subject involves the causes of crime. Based upon the reaction of other academic researchers to this Berkeley study, there was widespread skepticism of the global warming/crime theory, and that the key to understanding human behavior can be found in crime and weather statistics. 


  1. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to a rise in crime rate.

  2. and I thought the earth was flat...

  3. The idea that an increase in ambient temperature causes an increase in crime is as old as I remember, an I am pretty old. I am surprised that someone actually found a correlation.

    I don’t think it’s really relevant that these people looking at statistics are criminologists.

    One thing we do know from history is that people fight over resources. If resources dwindle because of global warming we can expect more war. If resources are more abundant because of global warming we can expect less war.