Heat waves bring crime waves, but DFW actually too hot for that right now

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NORTH TEXAS -- Numerous studies have shown a correlation between weather and crime. As temperatures rise, so do tempers, and when more people are outside and interacting with shorter fuses, it leads to more problems.

"When you're a patrol officer and it's hot outside, you know you're going to have a tough day," says retired Dallas police officer Rich Emberlin, who spent 30 years on the force which included a role on the reality TV series Dallas SWAT.

"Murders pretty much stay flat, but other things like assaults, aggravated assaults, burglaries, those all tend to go up with the heat," says Emberlin.  Burglaries can be attributed to residents being away from their homes on vacation, but most of the increased crime is related to confrontations that escalate.

"It's somebody walking by saying something; it's road rage; it's spontaneous stuff."

And it can be tough for cops to keep their cool, too.

"We're in a polyester suit with a police vest on.  You're soaked to the bone with sweat after you get out of the car the first time, so you're not in the best of moods, either."

But temperatures alone may not be to blame.  One study took a look at how climates impact cultures and how that affects crime levels.

Looking at the triple-digit temperatures in our forecast for the next several days, you might think we're in for a really bad time with crime.  But statistics show heat over 90 degrees is actually a deterrent for the obvious reason: it encourages people to stay indoors, although that can also present some problems for law enforcement.

"You'll see a lot more family violence because people are cooped up in houses," says Emberlin, who notes the same issue happens during winter months when people are cooped up to stay out of the cold.

So if you're getting beat by the heat, find a way to chill out.  You don't want to get in hot water with the law!

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