International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 63, Issue 6, pp 747–762 | Cite as

Hot and bothered? Associations between temperature and crime in Australia

  • Heather R. StevensEmail author
  • Paul J. Beggs
  • Petra L. Graham
  • Hsing-Chung Chang
Original Paper


Temperature and crime is one of the most extreme relationships between the atmospheric environment and human behaviour, yet our knowledge about it is primarily based on Northern Hemisphere research. This study used both temporal and spatial models to investigate the relationship between temperature and crime in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, using an 11-year data set. Results suggested that assault and theft counts were significantly higher in summer than winter (17.8 and 3.7%, respectively), while fraud counts were not significantly different. Using linear and quadratic terms for maximum daily temperature, a linear regression model indicated that daily assault counts significantly increased with rising temperature and the rate of increase slowed as temperatures exceeded 30 °C. Theft counts significantly increased with rising temperature then declined as temperatures exceeded 30°C. Again, there was no evidence of a relationship between temperature and frequency of fraud count. Spatial modelling revealed that 96% of local government areas (LGAs) in NSW had a higher summer assault rate than winter. The findings of this study provide an empirical foundation for understanding crime-temperature relationships in Australia.


Aggression Assault Heat New South Wales Theft Time series regression 



We thank the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research for the provision of crime data used in this research.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science and EngineeringMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science and EngineeringMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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