Weather To Blame For Rise In OKC Homicides?

Thursday, March 15th 2012, 10:00 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma City has seen more homicides in early 2012 than the city saw during the same time period in 2011, nearly triple the amount. But why?

By mid March 2011, Oklahoma City saw 7 homicides. By mid March 2012, Oklahoma City hit 20. The state's capital city is not alone in its surge of violence, and most crime experts say the temperature is to blame.

Snow, ice and frigid temperatures wreaked havoc in central Oklahoma during the winter of 2011. This time around, for 2012, it was more mild.

Criminology experts say the warm weather has a direct relationship with crime. All in all, nicer weather means more murders.

"People don't go out when it's cold," criminology professor Howard Kurtz said. "People don't commit crimes [as much] when it's very cold."

Kurtz is a professor of criminology at Oklahoma City University. He says Oklahoma City is fairly average on homicide rates compared to other cities of similar size. Oklahoma City sees 67 homicides a year on average.

"We're not necessarily anymore violent," Kurtz said. "We've stayed fairly steady for a very long time."

Police say Oklahoma City is on pace to see a higher-than-average total by the end of 2012, unless the numbers decrease in future months.

"Other cities are experiencing it as well," Kurtz said.

Criminologists across the country are seeing the same uptick in murder. New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia have all seen the same peaks as Oklahoma City in recent months.

Kurtz says there is a breaking point to the warm temperature relationship with homicides. When it gets too hot, the number of murders will go down. He also adds that the recent uptick does not necessarily mean there will be a long-term trend of more killing in Oklahoma City.

3/14/2012 Related Story: Early Year Homicide Numbers Nearly Triple From 2011