Crimes of Opportunity or Crimes of Emotion? Testing Two Explanations of Seasonal Change in Crime

  title={Crimes of Opportunity or Crimes of Emotion? Testing Two Explanations of Seasonal Change in Crime},
  author={John R. Hipp and Daniel J. Bauer and Patrick J. Curran and Kenneth A. Bollen},
  journal={Social Forces},
  pages={1333 - 1372}
While past research has suggested possible seasonal trends in crime rates, this study employs a novel methodology that directly models these changes and predicts them with explanatory variables. Using a nonlinear latent curve model, seasonal fluctuations in crime rates are modeled for a large number of communities in the U.S. over a three-year period with a focus on testing the theoretical predictions of two key explanations for seasonal changes in crime rates: the temperature/aggression and… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Seasonal Cycles in Crime, and Their Variability

Seasonal crime patterns have been a topic of sustained criminological research for more than a century. Results in the area are often conflicting, however, and no firm consensus exists on many

Essays on the Environmental Determinants of Crime.

In the extensive literature on temperature and crime, a clear positive correlation between observed temperature and criminal activity has been documented. The dominant explanation for this effect is

Crime Seasonality: Examining the Temporal Fluctuations of Property Crime in Cities With Varying Climates

Results suggest that cities that experience greater variations in weather throughout the year have more distinct increases of property offences in the summer months and that different climate variables affect certain crime types, thus advocating for disaggregate analysis in the future.

Seasonal Variation in Violent Victimization: Opportunity and the Annual Rhythm of the School Calendar

ObjectivesThis study draws on an underused source of data on seasonality—victim surveys—to assess whether violent crime occurs with greater frequency during summer months or whether it simply becomes

How Temperature Expectations and Forecast Errors Affect Criminal Activity

In the extensive literature on temperature and crime, a clear positive correlation between observed temperature and criminal activity has been documented. The dominant explanation for this effect is

The Seasons They Are a Changin’

Purpose: To examine a component of crime pattern theory by exploring whether the spatial predictors of crime vary across seasons. Methods: The relationships among potentially criminogenic places and

Advising caution in studying seasonal oscillations in crime rates

The model relies only on social interaction terms, and not on any exigent factors, to reproduce both the seasonality, and the seasonal aberrations observed in the data set, which is sufficient to reproduce the variations seen in the seasonal oscillations from year to year.

The point break effect: an examination of surf, crime, and transitory opportunities

Opportunity theories of crime suggest that crime is highly specific and concentrated in time and space. Using these theories as a framework, this paper seeks to examine the transitory nature of




An analysis of annual, quarterly, and monthly data for recorded crime in England and Wales yielded strong evidence that temperature has a positive effect on most types of property and violent crime.

Social Change and Crime Rates: An Evaluation of Alternative Theoretical Approaches

Two general theoretical perspectives, criminal opportunity and social disorganization, have been widely used to explain the level of crime in cities and temporal changes in their crime rates. Using a

Social Change and Crime Rate Trends: A Routine Activity Approach

In this paper we present a "routine activity approach" for analyzing crime rate trends and cycles. Rather than emphasizing the characteristics of offenders, with this approach we concentrate upon the

Ambient temperature and violent crime: tests of the linear and curvilinear hypotheses.

Two studies are reported that investigated the relationship between temperature and violent crime and failed to demonstrate the specified curvilinear relationship, and implications for the study of aggression are discussed.


In studying the causes of crime, most criminologists have concentrated on traditional socio-demographic variables, such as age, sex, race, and socio-economic status. However, some researchers have

Urban Stratification of Places, Routine Activities and Suburban Crime Rates

Cohen and Felson's (1979) theory of "routine activities" is evaluated using 1972 and 1980 crime rate data for 676 American suburbs. Cross-sectional and change influences of criminal motivation

Weather and Violent Crime

Research into the relationships between climatic and temporal variables and various types of violent crime has become increasingly popular over the last 30 years. Recently, Perry and Simpson (1987)

Property Crime Rates in the United States: A Macrodynamic Analysis, 1947-1977; With Ex Ante Forecasts for the Mid-1980s

This paper presents several macrodynamic social indicator models of post-World War II trends in robbery, burglary, and automobile theft rates for the United States. A theory of the ways in wich

Ambient Temperature and Violent Crime1

Baron and Ransberger (1978) argue that civil violence increases as temperature rises into the mid 80s, and then decreases as temperatures rise further. Two experiments test this hypothesis using data

The Seasonality of Violent Crime: The Case of Robbery and Homicide in Israel

The relationship between season of the year and criminal behavior is a classical topic in criminological research. However, much of the research in this field is atheoretical and the findings are