Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW

The Oklahoma Legal Group Blog

Does the Crime Rate Fall with the Temperature?

Adam Banner - Friday, November 14, 2014

Plenty of theories have been tossed around to try and explain the trend showing a sharp decline in crime over the past two decades. It seems as though everyone, from social scientists all the way to random bloggers, have offered various theories to explain the reduction in crime.

Regardless, the lack of crime is tangible on a much smaller and local scale as well. I notice it every year: as the temperatures fall, so do the amount of incoming calls. No, it isn't a red-alert situation where we need to worry about the health of our business, but it is definitely something that is a topic of discussion in my profession and at least worth thinking about. Why does there seem to be less crime during the winter?

First and foremost, I know this isn't simply a figment of my imagination. I have spoken with plenty other criminal defense attorneys  and individuals associated with the criminal justice system who notice the same trend, year-in and year-out. In fact most of us (myself included) more or less chalk up December as a time to catch up on office work and maybe a little rest and relaxation.

Now, there are obvious reasons for this...holidays, schedules, vacations, etc. One of my fallback explanations has always been the idea that there are less criminal court dockets in November and December. Most attorneys do their best to refrain from setting dispositions, preliminary hearings, and trial in the latter part of November and most of December; just like anyone else in any other field of work, criminal defense lawyers have families which we want to visit and spend time with during the holiday season. Most prosecutors will have no objection, as they have families they would like to celebrate with as well.

Moreover, I think judges have the same feelings generally when it comes to the holidays. Contrary to popular belief, I don't think the majority of judges derive any sort of pleasure or excitement from sending people to jail. There are obvious situations (especially with repeat offenders) where a judge will likely have far less reservation when it comes to putting a defendant in jail. I feel that the holiday season reminds a lot of judges about the human nature and familial ramifications involved with the defendants they sentence, and I think most judges are more prone to push a case out beyond December and the holiday season if there is a possibility that the defendant may actually face incarceration.

Beyond these ideas, there just might be another reason though. Once the temperature starts to warm up, we see an increase in all things criminal. The dockets pick back up, and there is never a lack of clients in need. Could it have something to do with the longer days (and corresponding longer nights) that accompany the warmer weather in Oklahoma? If that is true, then it would be fair to believe the converse as well: less daylight equals less time for criminals to be out and about.

Many might think that such an idea is contrary to common sense. Most folks are likely under the impression that the majority of crime occurs after the sun goes down. However, I think the opposite is true. Honestly, I have nothing to back up this notion other than my own experience (and that of other attorneys I have worked alongside), but I think that longer days lead to more crime. If anyone has any data to convince me otherwise, share away.

At the end of the day, I still think that the criminal justice system, and the workload of those who operate within it, has a natural ebb and flow just like any other.



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