Could climate change affect crime?

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EDWARDSVILLE, IL (KTVI) - There are two words wafting through the air these days when it comes to climate change, Mares and Moffett.

'On average that countries in our analysis show that as the climate increases by one degree Celsius that homicide rates increase by 6%,' says Dennis Mares, Associate Professor Sociology & Criminal Justice.

The pair`s paper on climate change is turning heads and raising eyebrows with their facts and figures.

Using statistics gathered from the St. Louis police department Dennis mares dug into levels of violence in different neighborhoods.

'So Dennis had looked at some St. Louis numbers in some of his research but what we did is look at country level data across time,' says Ken Moffett, Associate Professor Political Science.

'So when we`re looking at Africa and an 18% increase in homicides per degree Celsius that is massive,' says Mares.

Celsius is the world standard for measurements of temperature.

In the U.S. we use Fahrenheit.

So think of two degrees Fahrenheit for every one degree of Celsius.

And the two say if nothing changes, there could be a four degree Celsius increase in Africa by the end of the century, thus doubling the homicide rate there just from climate change alone.

'Increases in temperature do have implications on far more than our creature comforts so to speak,' says Moffett.

Meaning, it`s not something you can forget about and crank you air conditioning.

The two combined their weather related information with the social impact on crime.

'I think it`s here to impact our lives so hopefully at the conference in Paris they`re able to do something significant this time,' says Mares.

The associate professors point to a number of reasons the numbers are higher in impoverished neighborhoods, among them here in St. Louis, an older housing stock.

'Brick homes with flat roofs those get incredibly hot,' says Mares. 'So if you`re poor and don`t have any money to run the AC it drives you out of your house when it`s really hot. So maybe it`s factors like that where people have a tough time shielding themselves from those worst effects.'

'We should think carefully about the implications of some of the choices we make as a society,' says Moffett.

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