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A Stab in the Dark?

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Stop the presses!  Research indicates there are more muggings after dark!  The abstract from the November 2013 issue of the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency (50(4)) is here and copied after the break.
A Stab in the Dark?
A Research Note on Temporal Patterns of Street Robbery
 Lisa Tompson1
 Kate Bowers1⇑
 1Department of Security and Crime Science, University College London, London, England
 Kate Bowers, Department of Security and Crime Science, University College London, 35 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9EZ, England. Email: l.tompson@ucl.ac.uk
Objectives: Test the influence of darkness in the street robbery crime event alongside temperature.
Methods: Negative binomial regression models tested darkness and temperature as predictors of street robbery. Units of analysis were four 6-hr time intervals in two U.K. study areas that have different levels of darkness and variations of temperature throughout the year.
Results: Darkness is a key factor related to robbery events in both study areas. Traversing from full daylight to full darkness increased the predicted volume of robbery by a multiple of 2.6 in London and 1.2 in Glasgow. Temperature was significant only in the London study area. Interaction terms did not enhance the predictive power of the models.
Conclusion: Darkness is an important driving factor in seasonal variation of street robbery. A further implication of the research is that time of the day patterns are crucial to understanding seasonal trends in crime data.

I'm being a bit facetious.  There is nothing wrong with doing research that confirms and quantifies the obvious.  Every once in a while a researcher hits the research lottery and finds out that what "everybody knows" is not true after all.

1 Comment

NPR had a story earlier this week about a study that examined the affect of daylight savings on robberies. It showed that the extra hour of darkness in the winter was related to an increase in robberies. The effect was controlled for by looking at the period when daylight savings was changed a few years ago.

It was interesting, but hardly earth-shattering news. More curious was the question posed: why don't see more crime in the mornings when the time change causes sunrise later in the day? The obvious answer is that criminals are not early risers - by a mile.

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