3 Crimes to Watch Out for This Summer and How to Prevent Them
Summer is a season marked by barbeques, vacations, and pool parties. But it also marks a high season for crime. According to a recent study by the Department of Justice, burglaries, violent crime, property crimes, and household larceny are more prevalent in the summer months than any other time of year. As the prime summer season steadily approaches, we've outlined some key summertime crimes to look out for and what law enforcement agencies can do to help prevent them.
The study from the Department of Justice found that "serious violence was significantly higher during the summer than during the winter, spring and fall seasons." These violent crimes included offenses like rape, sexual assault, robbery, simple assault and aggravated assault. While it's difficult to be sure, some studies suggest people are more irritable and hostile as temperatures increase leading to the increase in aggravation and violent crime.
Warm weather also typically means more people are outside of their homes, interacting with one another in their communities. The more interaction—especially among juveniles, can lead to disagreements and arguments that can turn violent. Being proactive and introducing community programs to educate and occupy school-aged youths is one way to help prevent the influx of violent crime.
For example, the city of Tampa crime analysis indicated that crime increased during the summer months when school was out, so the Tampa Police Department formulated plans that would attack crimes committed by juveniles on summer break. In addition to an increased police presence in places like shopping malls, hotels, and tourist attractions, the police department partnered with the community to bring job fairs, life-skills classes, food, and engaging activities to neighborhoods.
DUI and Underage Drinking
According to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 1 in 3 traffic deaths in the US involve a drunk driver. The summer season means festivals, street fairs, and concerts which frequently involve alcohol use and as such, many cities report an influx of DUIs between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Communities across the country frequently boost the number of highway patrol units during this season and especially during long holiday weekends in anticipation of those driving under the influence. Some jurisdictions even implement sobriety checkpoints which allow police officers to briefly stop vehicles at specific, highly visible locations to see if drivers are impaired in any way. If an officer finds reason to suspect a driver is under the influence, breathalyzers and other sobriety tests may be implemented.
Underage drinking also sees an uptick during the summer months. With no curfews and loads of free time, many teens and adolescents begin engaging in alcohol use. Education is one way to help prevent underage drinking along with cracking down on establishments that illegally sell alcohol to minors. Enforcing the checking of IDs for anyone purchasing alcohol at a store, restaurant, or bar and the presence of law enforcement officers may help to reduce these types of crimes.
Of all the crimes that see an increase during the summer months, the biggest upswing was seen among property crimes like burglary and vandalism. During the summer, residents frequently leave windows open (especially at night) to keep cool, and that can be a prime opportunity for would-be burglars. Moreover, vacations and long summer days spent away enjoying leisure activities means many homes are left unattended for longer periods of time. Homeowners can help to prevent crimes against their property by making sure to lock doors and windows and by investing in home security systems.
Police departments and other law enforcement agencies can help prevent these crimes through the use of proactive policing, empowering neighborhood watch organizations, and by investing in technologies that help deliver real-time data about criminal activity. Solutions like NC4 Street Smart® act as a complement to law enforcement efforts and help police officers work smarter using data and real-time intelligence. In the five years since the Tampa Police Department has implemented NC4 Street Smart, burglaries have decreased by 47.6%, and the number of burglaries in one Tampa district went from an average of 80 per week to 10 per week.
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