Does Freezing Cold Weather Mean Less Crime? Chicago Police Respond

It is a macabre bit of local folklore that shootings and crime tend to fluctuate with the rise and fall of the temperature in Chicago.

But the Chicago Police Department said Tuesday—ahead of a historical cold snap—that it draws no direct correlation between the volume of crime and the weather.

“In the coming days, we will continue to have the same number of officers on patrol,” Howard Ludwig, a department spokesman, said in an email. “CPD encourages all residents to stay safe during this stretch of severe cold weather.”

Ludwig said cops will be keeping their eyes peeled for “vulnerable populations” at risk during dangerous weather conditions—like the plummeting temperatures expected Wednesday that have shuttered schools and businesses throughout the area. Ludgwig said children, pets and the elderly are high priorities for officers to be on the lookout for during the coming winter freeze.

A Chicago Tribune analysis of crime data from the Chicago police ranging from 2012 to 2017 suggests hot summers, however, do mean an influx in some crimes—such as shootings, theft and criminal damage.

But the cold, police say, doesn’t have the inverse effect—so officers continue to patrol vigilantly.

“The most important thing is keeping everyone safe,” he said.

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