Crime may rise along with Earth's temperatures

Jul 12, 2012

When most people think about global warming, they envision rising temperatures and sea levels. Robert Agnew, a professor of sociology at Emory, thinks about rising crime rates.

It was in the early 1990s, while focusing on the causes of crime and delinquency, that he began to see that certain , or , increase the likelihood of crime – including economic deprivation, discrimination, criminal victimization, harsh or erratic discipline, child abuse and neglect. These strains can foster a range of negative emotions such as anger, frustration and depression that put people under pressure to take corrective action. Some of those actions are criminal.

During the last few decades, Agnew’s research on general strain theory has become one of the leading explanations for crime, and he has become its chief architect. He is among the most frequently cited criminologists in the world, and was recently elected president of the American Society of Criminologists.

Agnew believes the pressures caused by climate change will become "one of the major forces – if not the major force – driving change as the century progresses." He lists strains such as increased temperatures, heat waves, natural disasters, serious threats to livelihood (thinking farming, herding, fishing), forced migrations on a massive scale and social conflicts arising as nations and groups compete for increasingly scarce food, fresh water and fuel. Especially in the developing world, he believes crime will become a critical issue, making it more difficult to keep the peace in megacities heavily populated by immigrants.

Agnew’s background in criminology isn’t purely academic. He grew up in the Atlantic City of the 1950s and 60s, before casinos brought tourist dollars and jobs. "There was a lot of race and ethnic conflict a lot of crime and delinquency in high school, and I drew very much on those experiences when I came to criminology."

Explore further: Unintended consequences: More high school math, science linked to more dropouts

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User comments : 8

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Gammakozy
3.3 / 5 (12) Jul 12, 2012
The facts are that over the past 30 years, when most of the earth's warming is alleged to have occurred, crime in the USA (all catogories) has steadily declined. The obvious reason for this is that the population is aging. So unless global warming creates another baby boom then the hypothesis is just another questionable global warming attribution.
Tangent2
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 12, 2012
Whoever keeps giving 1 star rating to people, at least write a comment and explain why you dislike/disagree with it. Just rating a comment a 1 and then doing nothing else does not really help anyone.
julianpenrod
1.4 / 5 (11) Jul 13, 2012
Among other things, they used to say often that more homicides occur at about 92 degrees Fahrenheit than at any other temperature. General destruction of the environment might create a degree of agitation and aggression, but continued heating could create more times when temperatures are at 92 degrees.
With respect to the awarding of 1's, it can actually be a cunning plot. Get a group of people to award a lot of 1's to a good comment and any genuine higher rankings it receives can be reduced. Of someone gets a single ranking of 5, they have a five, if you arrange for them to get five 1's, then one genuine 5, their average rank is 1.7.
ubavontuba
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 13, 2012
Whoever keeps giving 1 star rating to people, at least write a comment and explain why you dislike/disagree with it. Just rating a comment a 1 and then doing nothing else does not really help anyone.
You're probably talking about "Lite" and "Pluton" and the likes. These are sockpuppets used by folks too afraid of retaliation to expose their regular user names. "Frank Herbert" was an infamous user of downranking sockpuppets. Currently, "Howhot" appears to be the most likely culprit.

Just watch for patterns.

ubavontuba
1.4 / 5 (7) Jul 13, 2012
On Jun 13, 2012 Sinister1811 wrote:

By the way, I wasn't supporting cyberbullying either. It is an issue that needs to be dealt with.

http://phys.org/n...ill.html

Yet he's one to downrank regularly without leaving a comment (as he's done here).
ubavontuba
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 13, 2012
With respect to the awarding of 1's, it can actually be a cunning plot. Get a group of people to award a lot of 1's to a good comment and any genuine higher rankings it receives can be reduced. Of someone gets a single ranking of 5, they have a five, if you arrange for them to get five 1's, then one genuine 5, their average rank is 1.7.
What's the point of that?

The ranking system doesn't work unless it's used genuinely and fairly. Purposely downranking someone just because you decide you don't like that person (so you're going to downrank them everytime they comment even if it's in a subject you're not interested in) and doing so multiple times with multiple sockpuppets, is cyberbullying.

So are you a cyberbully, then?

Why are so many people haters? This is a science site. Can we at least discuss the merits of the commenter's science BEFORE deciding to downrank them? And use a little value judgement. Even the worst commenter can provide a gem, occasionally.
Ms Bitters
2 / 5 (6) Jul 13, 2012
Doom, doom, doom, doom, doom, doom,.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................., doom, doom, doom.

As I was saying the Earth is just doomed to implode in the cold and merciless vacuum of space.
Czcibor
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 15, 2012
Would global warming also contribute to inscrease trolling on Internet forums? Would it also increase number of people marked with only one star? ;)

Idea of that article was not specially serious, thus I can not comment it more seriously.