Crime increases as weather gets warmer

2013-03-17T00:45:00Z 2014-03-15T08:50:03Z Crime increases as weather gets warmerPaige Fieldsted - Daily Herald Daily Herald
March 17, 2013 12:45 am  • 

With temperatures reaching near record highs last week and the warm weather expected to continue as we move further into spring, more and more people are ditching cuddling on the couch under a blanket for outdoor activities.

The same holds true for criminals in your neighborhood.

Sgt. Craig Martinez with the Orem Department of Public Safety said they always see an increase in vehicle burglaries and crime in general as the weather gets warmer.

"Criminals, like the rest of the people in Utah, don't like to be out in the cold, especially that cold spell we had," Martinez said. "The crimes are generally perpetrated at night, so that is one of the things that happens when temperatures start to go up -- we see more crime than we do in the winter months."

Martinez said they usually see business, home and auto burglaries increase when the weather gets warm. Many of those instances are crimes of opportunity.

"Sometimes criminals are walking down the road at 2 a.m. and they see an expensive road bike underneath a carport so they grab it and take off or they see a back pack on the back seat of a car. These usually aren't crimes that are plotted out, but they just see an opportunity," Martinez said. "When it's 5 degrees outside you don't get a lot of people walking around at night."

Provo police Lt. Matt Siufanua said as weather warms up Provo police officers write a lot more citations for curfew violations.

In Provo, people 15 years and younger are supposed to be off the streets between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.; 16- and 17-year-olds have the same curfew on weekdays, but their curfew is 1 a.m. on weekends.

"We see it because people are out more but we really watch the curfew and if kids are out our citations go up," Siufanua said. The Provo Police Department's website states the curfew is to keep juveniles from being found in the wrong place at the wrong time because most crimes take place at night. Siufanua also said crimes involving youth increase when the weather is warmer because they are out and about and not in school.

Siufanua said that of the five crimes Prove police track regularly, bike theft sees the biggest jump when temperatures climb. Provo police track bike theft, burglary, auto burglary, auto theft and criminal mischief on a regular basis.

Siufanua said the warm weather doesn't only bring problems, though. In the summer months traffic accidents and violations go down because many of the students from BYU have left for the summer and there are fewer people on the roads.

Both Siufanua and Martinez say that regardless of what the temperature outside is people need to take precautions to keep themselves from being victimized.

"Don't store things out in plain view in your car. A lot of people who have a GPS will take the GPS down but leave the stand in the window and criminals know where there is a GPS mount there is a GPS," Martinez said. "The only thing I leave in my car is garbage in the doors. Anything you can't do without take in the house at night."

Locking doors, rolling up windows and keeping valuables out of sight are all things police recommend to protect property.

"Those principles need to be done throughout the year. You have to be a hard target," Siufanua said. "The problem with crime is sometimes you do see trends but a lot of time it is sporadic and unpredictable. Always be a hard target and be aware of those out causing problems."

-- Paige Fieldsted covers robberies, burglaries, murders and any other crimes and court cases happening in Utah County. Follow Paige on Twitter at @paigefieldsted.
Read more from Paige Fieldsted here.

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