1987 Edition

Crime and climate

  • James Lebeau
Reference work entry

Since the early nineteenth century, there have been infrequent inquiries into the relationship between climate and crime. Usually climate has referred to the months or seasons of the year and crime has been classified into two types: crimes against persons (or violent crimes such as homicide, rape, assault, and robbery) and crimes against property (such as burglary, larceny-theft, and the modern offense of motor vehicle theft).

During the early nineteenth century, A. M. Guerry in France and A. Quetelet in Belgium, in two independent studies, observed the coincidence of higher frequencies of crimes against persons in warmer areas and during warmer months. Moreover, crimes against property increased in winter months and in cooler areas. Quetelet conceptualized these observations into the “thermic law of delinquency” (Cohen, 1941; Harries, 1980). Neither Guerry nor Quetelet felt that climatic conditions were the principle causes of crime and delinquency. Both criminologists are credited...

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Copyright information

© Van Nostrand Reinhold 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Lebeau

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