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Heat driving crime – study

Published:Monday | August 5, 2013 | 11:08 AM

Martin Baxter, Gleaner Writer

A study conducted in the United States has concluded that crime and violence in Jamaica can be partly attributed to the weather.

A group of scientists from the University of Berkeley in California have discovered a significant correlation between high temperatures, economic productivity and aggression globally.

The study found that marginal changes in temperature or rainfall correlated with a reduction in productivity and a rise in murder and other forms of violent crime, including group conflicts and war.

One of the co-authors of the study, Ted Miguel, says there’s data to suggest that people become aggressive when it’s very hot.

Miguel says in the case of Caribbean countries like Jamaica, both the neuro-physiological mechanism and economic mechanism are contributing factors to rates of crime and violence.

However, some international critics have branded the research as reductionist, explaining that crime and violence is just one expression of a collection of competing socio-economic and political factors that the study seemingly overlooks.

Among those urging restraint when assessing the research is consultant psychiatrist and lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Dr Winston De La Haye.

The study was published on August 1 in Science Magazine.


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