How Climate Change Will Affect Home Security: What to Learn From a Comprehensive Study

A recent study “Crime, Weather, and Climate Change” focused on the correlation between climate change and crime. The research was published by Dr. Matthew Ranson, a Harvard graduate and environmental economist at Abt Associates.

In a Boston Globe article entitled, “Climate change may mean more crime,” the Globe delved into the aforementioned study, which predicts that over the remainder of this century, rising temperatures in the United States will lead to an increase in crime.

Our focus is on Dr. Ranson’s prediction rising temperatures in the United States will lead to an additional 1.3 million burglaries. One wouldn’t normally think to associate climate change with an increase in burglaries, but Dr. Ranson’s study presents information that isn’t easy to dismiss.

crime and climate change

An increase in crime is a scary thought, but it follows logic that has been around for a long time, especially among city-dwellers. As the warm temperatures of the spring and summer approach, more people go outside and there is a stronger propensity for crime to occur. As Richard Larrick, a psychologist at Duke University, told the Boston Globe, “there’s something about the discomfort of being hot that makes you see hostility more.” So, if temperatures continue to rise during all seasons, logic would say that crimes will begin to increase across the board.

Dr. Ranson’s study wasn’t solely focused on burglaries, it analyzed all crimes, but we will examine the burglary aspect of it. Dr. Ranson told the Boston Globe, “In a particular location and a particular month, if temperatures happen to be unseasonably warm, then crime rates happen to be higher.” According to Dr. Ranson, “nonviolent crimes like burglaries go down when the weather is below 40 or 50 degrees, then remain steady as the temperatures climb above that.”

According to Dr. Ranson’s study, for property crimes such as burglary and larceny, the relationship between temperature and crime is highly non-linear, with a kink at approximately 40 degrees F. Above the 40 degree cutoff, changes in temperature have little effect in crime rates. What this means is that more burglaries tend to occur when the temperature is above 40 degrees F. While the frequency of burglaries does not tend to increase as temperature increases above 40 degrees F, if the number of days above 40 degrees F increase, so will the number of burglaries.

This is important to keep in mind as the East Coast has been experiencing summer-like temperatures extending into late September and even October. His study found that crime rates are highest along the Eastern Seaboard, the West Coast and the areas bordering the great lakes. One could interpret that information to mean that the closer you live to water, the more increasing temperatures will affect crime in your area. New Jerseyans should take this information to heart.

The Electronic Security Association reports that 90 percent of convicted burglars said they want to avoid homes with alarm systems and said that if they did encounter an alarm, they would abandon the attack on the home. They also estimated that 74 percent of uncompleted intrusions can be credited to an audible alarm.

New Jersey homeowners would be smart to get ahead of the curve and equip their homes with a professional security system. If Dr. Ranson’s numbers are correct, it would be safe to assume that home security systems will be more important than ever in the near future. The security industry will be relied upon more than ever as temperatures rise, and homeowners should find a security company that they can trust to protect them now and in the future.

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