Urban Heat Islands: Do Heat Waves Trigger Increase in Crime?

Urban Heat Islands. Have you ever heard of this term? Houston’s CBS affiliate published this story on June 21, telling us more about the problems urban areas pose during times of great heat waves:

 Andrew Carleton, a professor of geography and a climatologist at Penn State University, warned of smaller, more concentrated zones of elevated temperatures called urban heat islands that contain threats all their own.

“[U]rban areas are becoming places where increasing numbers of people are moving to. The areas are getting bigger, creating an urban heat island effect,” he told CBS Houston. “The buildings and streets trap heat, which contributes to heat waves in urban areas. Mortality rates could particularly increase in [those] areas.”

Let the bodies hit the floor…

Urban Heat Islands. The beauty of an island is that it can be easily blockaded by a naval force, to ensure that no imports or exports are shipped/received; the beauty of an island is that a blockade can ensure that no people leave or go into said island…

Wait, we’re just talking about a metaphor, an urban area as an island. Since “urban” is synonymous with minority and Black in American lexicon, anytime meteorologists start predicting heat waves for cities with vibrant, diverse populations like New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Memphis, Milwaukee, or Philadelphia, the great fear is that the risk of a “crime wave” rises with each uptick in the Fahrenheit temperature.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on June 20 that the rise in temperature will be accompanied with an increase in crime:

The heat is back, and so are concerns about violent crime in the region’s urban neighborhoods.

From the minute it arrives officially at 7:09 p.m. Wednesday, summer will be cooking – flaring up with record-threatening heat the next few days, maybe making a run at 100 on Thursday.

Summer may be vacation time for most people, but for police in high-crime areas, it’s the hot time.

Research in recent years has affirmed that the connection between heat and violent crime is more than lore. Even screening out other factors such as economic conditions, age, and education levels, heat, in itself, has been shown to be a significant contributor to explosive behavior.

In the tinderbox neighborhoods of Philadelphia, Camden, and Chester, where the summer sun soaks into the streets and sidewalks – and the human body – intense heat can be the match that lights the fuse.

At least one study warns that the trend toward hotter summers could brew trouble in the nation’s urban areas.

“The discomfort caused by the heat is the best explanation for summer increases in violence,” said Craig A. Anderson, psychologist at Iowa State University.

The correlation between increasing temperatures and crimes of aggression is remarkably clean, said Scott Sheridan, a Kent State University researcher who led a major study of crime in Cleveland. “You end up with an almost perfect line,” he said.

Based on an Inquirer analysis of national FBI Uniform Crime Statistics, summer is the busiest season for violent crimes, with rates almost 20 percent higher than in winter.

All the urban rioting of the 1960s, including in Philadelphia, occurred in summer.

Wait a second: weren’t all those “urban riots” of the 1960s just Black people engaging in a low-level civil war, demanding that their list of grievances be met or else they’d burn cities like Detroit, Watts, Newark, Washington D.C., Cleveland, etc., to the ground?

Wasn’t Detroit, once turned over to Black people (and their viceroy of destruction, Coleman Young) in 1973, and basically set on “pre-heat” — considering that 21,000 people have been murdered there since?

Is there a link between violent crime rising and temperature increases? Perhaps. But is there a study that looks at increases in only the Black crime rate and violent crime (once the heat gets turned up to “bake” in these Urban Heat Islands?), considering that in “urban” areas the violent crime tends to be primarily monopolized by Black people? Or, in the case of Chicago and New York City, Hispanics too.

All things in life are relative: what would happen if you switched the population of Portland (the only people committing crimes there tend to be the less than 10 percent of the city that checks “African America” on U.S. Census form) with Philadelphia’s? Would the Philadelphia Inquirer be publishing stories warning about the fear of violent crime rising with the heat? Or would the paper lament that in this thought-experiment, Philadelphia was “in a changing, Philly remains overwhelmingly white.”

Kinda like Austin, Minneapolis, Seattle, or Denver; all boasting populations that are less than 10 percent Black (though in the case of Minneapolis and Denver, those Black populations do their best to monopolize all the crime, cold or warm weather be damned).

Wired Magazine and The Atlantic have both published stories discussing the link between violent crime rates rising with rises in the temperature (perhaps this is the reason so many Disingenuous White Liberals fear Global Warming — the reality of racial differences in impulse control will become to obvious and frequent to censor with the ice caps melting…), but the simple answer is this: it depends on what city and which population within that city you are talking about.

Violent crime committed by Black people in Philadelphia, Chicago, Newark, St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Washington D.C., and Baltimore might increase, but it’s already at astronomically high rates (compared to the white population) that it’s hard to notice a difference.

But cities that are “overwhelmingly” white (does any newspaper ever say Detroit is “suffocatingly” Black… because they should) don’t have the same problem with increases in temperature.

It’s just an excuse to go outside, play some corn hole and dredge up the ol’ Slip ‘N” Slide or hit the pool and show off your latest jump from the diving board.

Urban Heat Islands are only a threat when the urban area is occupied by The Blacks, who help perpetuate the very stereotypes that keep white people from moving into the city and gentrifying it (thereby bringing back businesses, safe parks, and quality schools in the process).



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