Local professor links crime rates to season, time of day

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, July 23, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- From violent crimes down to petty thefts, anyone could be the victim of a crime at any time.

Many crimes are crimes of opportunity, which is an area of study for one local professor. In his research, he's linked crime rates and trends to seasons, time of day and months of the year.

"Directly and indirectly it affects all of us," said Dr. Bill Reese, a sociology professor at GRU.

He's been studying crime for more than 30 years.

His most recent research is on crime trends, including when they are most likely to happen in your neighborhood down to the season and time of day.

"If you plot crime in a given city, instead of it being a straight line across the 24 hours of the day, it has dips in it," Reese said.

Throughout the year, it has dips as well. Reese says interpersonal crimes such as assaults and fights are more likely to happen in the summer when it's warm.

"The more interaction you have, the greater the possibility that something can go wrong," Reese said.

In the winter, those go down and property crimes go up, especially around the holidays with more people keeping valuable items in their cars.

"There's a lot more opportunity for there to be property theft," Reese said.

News 12 took a look at crimes in Richmond and Aiken counties to see if they matched up with these trends.

In 2012, Richmond County saw a spike in domestic violence in the summer and is seeing it again this year with two fatal incidents in the past month. Also following the research, theft by taking spiked in the winter.

In Aiken County, assaults tended to stay pretty steady but peaked in the summer.

But Reese says no matter what the research shows, crime can still happen at any time, anywhere.

"The most common type of crime is petty crime that happens all the time," Reese said.

Reese also spends a lot of time studying juveniles and delinquency. His research shows the most common times of day for delinquency rates to spike is the hour just before and right after school.

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