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Does heat cause uptick in summertime crime?

CAPITAL REGION (NEWS10) - Traditionally during the summer months, crime rates tend to increase.

So how does the heat really affect crime activity and is there anything police can do to curb it?

Thursday marks the sixth day of the heat wave in the Capital Region and we've seen an uptick in violent crime over the past 24 hours.

Experts say the heat doesn't specifically cause crime but it is a contributing factor.

The nearly week stretch of excessively hot temperatures in the Capital Region is starting to take its toll.

Overnight, there were several violent crimes in the area including a homicide in Albany and a shooting in Schenectady.

"There's no probably one thing I could point to that says its specifically heat or anything like that,” Schenectady Police Sgt. Matt Dearing said.

Sgt. Dearing says even though it's hotter, that may not be the reason for the increase.

"I'm not sure if there's a direct relation obviously but warmer weather brings more people outside and with more people outside there's always the potential for more things to happen."

He says the holiday could play into things and says officers did respond to several incidents Wednesday night.

"Obviously the Fourth of July is popular for fireworks. We did receive quite a few fireworks calls last night."

Retired Troy Police Captain John Cooney says the heat is a contributing factor to other things that cause crime.

"Domestics and just good old party fights so to speak are going to happen much more often."

He says alcohol use also increases with the temperatures and tensions can run high.

"We get a tight space and a lot of people. We've got the social factor of people just not getting along."

Plus, the heat affects officers too.

Staying safe and cool requires keeping the windows of patrol vehicles closed and keeping the air conditioner on.

"Once those windows are up that little bit of extra contact we have to maybe hear a problem or hear a gunshot. It disappears."

Cooney says in the heat, officers should remember to have a little more patience and keep their cool when responding to the public.


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