Heat often leadsto upsurge in crime

Published 3:06 am Saturday, June 7, 2008

By Staff
Increase in temperatures not causing problems yet, say law-enforcement chiefs
Senior Reporter
Law-enforcement commanders from Washington and Beaufort County said a late-spring heat wave in the area has yet to result in a crime wave.
High temperatures in recent days have resulted in more activities in their jurisdictions, but those increased activities have yet to result in a corresponding increase in crime that may be attributed to the heat they said.
However, they said, their years of experience with crime and criminals has already led them to prepare their agencies for more crime-related incidents while temperatures are high.
Temperatures have risen into the upper 90s during the past several days while temperatures at night have not slipped below the mid-70s.
Reed said his department’s patrol officers are seeing more Washington residents and visitors to the city moving around since the temperatures have warmed and heat indices reached triple digits.
His officers are trained and prepared to deal with that, Reed said.
Groups tend to form when people are outside, and interaction among those people sometimes creates incidents that patrol officers respond to, he said.
In situations like those, history tells officers to simply to adjust their patrols so their presence is known by people in those areas, he said.
When the weather is hot and people are out and about in the city, vehicular traffic tends to increase, he said.
Harry Meredith, chief deputy with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, said Friday afternoon the sheriff’s office has not recorded an increase in crime during the recent hot days and nights.
When temperatures increase and remain that way for days at a time, more calls for service tend to occur because more people come outside, Meredith said.
Meredith indicated such incidents will occur more frequently as temperatures go higher in the next several months.
Stress often builds in people during the warmer months, and that stress can lead to situations between people in which law-enforcement agencies have to intervene, he said.
Alcohol-related calls are sometimes more prevalent during the summer months and during holidays than they are during other times of the year, he said.