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APD cruisers are parked at the department's headquarters. (FILE)

As temperatures rise, so do arrests

Warm weather draws people outside, creating crowds and other concerns for police.

As the flowers bloom and the Natty Light flows this spring, the police get busy — and it’s not just fests.

When temperatures start rising in Athens, police departments typically see a rise in crime, Ohio University Police Department Chief Andrew Powers said.

“In the spring it tends to be kind of a boisterous time, because everybody’s been cooped up for the winter,” Powers said. “You know, the weather warms up, everyone wants to go outside and things just kind of cascade from there.”

There are crimes less affected by the weather, Powers said, like theft and crimes that occur between people who already know each other. Alcohol-related offenses and destruction of property are most affected by the weather, he said.

He said the department takes weather into account when it adjusts staffing levels, and that increase in crime happens everywhere, not just in Athens.

Athens Police Department Chief Tom Pyle said crime rises in Athens during the spring, and not just because of fests. Warmer weather raises concerns of theft, he said. People tend to leave doors and windows open, and are away from their houses more. Additionally, he said thieves tend to be more active in the spring.

“I think thieves don’t like cold weather any more than anybody else, or they at least tolerate warm weather better like everybody else,” Pyle said.

Powers said rates may also rise because people commit more crimes outside.

“People are more likely to be outside,” Powers said. “So the things that they do when they’re drunk, they’re more likely to be doing outside, where they’re more likely to attract the attention of the police or somebody who’s going to call the police about it.”

People also tend to gather outside when it’s warm, Powers said, which allows them to form bigger crowds.

“We don’t very often have people partying to the point of taking over the street in January,” Powers said.

Crowds create a “different dynamic” for law enforcement, Powers said. They tend to be unpredictable, and a crowd mentality can develop.

“So people that maybe, if they were standing by themselves on the street, would never dream of throwing a rock at a police horse, but you put them in a crowd, and everyone’s egging them on, and there’s that degree of anonymity — especially if it’s dark — then you start to get kind of the problems that you don’t have when people are just playing beer pong in someone’s basement somewhere,” Powers said.

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Will Pyron, a junior studying marketing, said he definitely feels students are more “carefree” during spring.

“Bars are more of a winter thing,” he said. “In spring, you see more porch drinking. People drink on their porches and have fun with their friends.”

-Julia Fair contributed to this report.


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