Violent crimes more likely in hotter countries: Study

A scientific study has revealed a link between the weather and violent crime that hotter temperatures can lead to increased aggression.

According to the study, which was published in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences journal and reported by PsychCentral, a group of scientists have come up with a model, called CLASH (CLimate Aggression, and Self-control in Humans) that explains why violent crime rates are "consistently higher near the equator compared to other parts of the world".

Dr Paul van Lange, the lead author of the study said that when there is less seasonal variation in temperatures, "people living these climates are oriented to the present rather than the future and tend to have a life strategy - they do things now."

"This can lead people to react more quickly with aggression and sometimes violence," he added. 

For instance, people who live in countries that have more temperature variations, such as experiencing the four seasons, would have to prepare to accommodate to these temperature changes. This includes chopping wood to prepare for winter.

PsychCentral reported that the CLASH model provides a more concrete link between climate and violent crimes than previous studies on the matter. 

However, Dr van Lange also added that the theory does not suggest that people in consistently warm countries are prone to violence. 

He said: "How people approach life is a part of culture, and culture is strongly affected by climate. Climate doesn't make a person, but it is one part of what influences each of us. We believe it shapes the culture in important ways."

prabukm@sph.com.sg