Understanding the Relationship between Crime and Temperature in the Chicago Region


This study investigates the relationship between temperature and crime rates in Chicago over a 20-year period. Crime and temperature data were analyzed at the census tract level to examine spatial and temporal correlations. The study tested the hypothesis that certain crimes increase with warmer temperatures while others rise with colder temperatures, and that higher temperatures predict higher crime overall. Urban climate data from the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) and public crime data were compared to identify census tracts sensitive to seasonal temperature changes. Different crime types were found to correlate with a heat vulnerability index based on socioeconomic and health metrics. The findings aim to help law enforcement, urban planners, and stakeholders locate areas of heat stress and develop interventions to reduce violence and structured racism in highly crime-prone neighborhoods. This novel investigation of the overlooked links between climate, geography, and crime can inform strategies to mitigate urban heat impacts on public safety.