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Warm Weather May Bring an Increase of Violent Crime to Illinois

Posted on in Arrest

crime in warm weatherAs warmer weather finally begins to reach the state of Illinois, residents call to mind thoughts of upcoming barbecues, festivals, parties and camping trips. Speaking from a defense attorney’s perspective though, warmer weather also brings about something else: a rise in violent crime.

Recent studies suggest that the rise in temperature in seasonal climates like Illinois accompanies a rise in violent crimes such as murder, rapes, assaults, and thefts. One study even goes so far as to suggest the temperature increase due to warming would trigger violent crimes to rise by one to three percent over the next century, with social costs estimated to run as high as $115 billion.

Increase in violent crime rates in warmer weather may occur for a variety of reasons. First, summer gatherings beget more opportunities for socializing, which in turn leads to a rise in social confrontations and tension. Second, given that a large percentage of violent crimes are perpetuated by juveniles, the onset of summer break may be another factor that contributes to the rise in crime. Third, police officers, like most other Illinois residents, simply enjoy the nice weather. Officers are more likely to work overtime, be more attentive while working, and accept assignments patrolling high crime areas, often by foot.

Efforts to Curb Increase in Warm Weather Crime

A variety of efforts have begun by the City of Chicago to help fight crime in the city.

Stronger Police Presence: The Chicago Police Department teamed up with the Chicago Transit Authority to create more opportunities for police officers to patrol public parks, public transit, and public housing this summer. The organizations will increase police presence in these public spaces by paying overtime to 100 additional officers on weeknights, 200 on weekends, and 300 on national holiday weekends.

Ongoing Efforts to Strengthen Gun Laws: Even though one public advocacy organization ranked Illinois as eighth out of 50 states concerning the strength of its gun laws, anti-gun violence advocates are still working to strengthen Illinois firearms prohibitions and enforcement of new gun laws. State legislators proposed changes to the new gun law enacted in January 2014 that would impose harsher penalties for those violating the law, as well as instructors who do not uphold obligations to adequately train gun purchasers.

Prevention Programs for At-Risk Youth: In some recent years people under 25 were responsible for over half of the yearly murders in Chicago. Presently, nearly half of all violent crimes in the city involve school-aged youth. The City of Chicago has made significant progress in decreasing its levels of youth violence since 2012.Chicago and the surrounding areas continue to implement programs to provide alternative activities to prevent at-risk youth from getting into drug use or gang activity.

For example, at least one program provides after school programs to keep kids off the streets during peak times for drug use and certain crimes. Another program trains and places young people in part-time employment positions for nine-week stints during the summer months. Programs providing mentoring programs for at-risk youth are also available throughout the area and public schools collaborate with law enforcement to identify and work with students involved in gang activity.

If you or someone you know is facing a summer that is clouded over by pending criminal charges, call an experienced defense lawyer at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. at 630-472-9700 for a free consultation on how to best handle the problem.

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