On a yearly basis, local crime rates rise with the temperature.
In Athens, the most active months for crime are March, April, September and October, Chief of Police for Athens Police Department, or APD, Tom Pyle, said. These months also happen to be some of the warmer months on campus while students are still in school.
The most active days of the week for crime are traditionally Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The most active times of the day on weekends are typically between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m.
All types of crime increase, Pyle said, but the notable crimes are vandalism and order-maintenance type crime, such as drunk disorderly conduct and fighting. Before COVID-19, disorderly conduct and underage drinking were frequently occurring crimes in the spring, especially because of fest season, Lisa Eliason, city law director, said.
Since many students were home in 2020 due to COVID-19, the number of students on campus is still climbing to its pre-pandemic rates. The university is currently at around 75% of what residential student numbers were in 2019.
Along with outdoor partying causing an increase in crime, there’s also a large increase in commuter traffic on the weekends.
Outside of the OU community, crime still continues to rise in the warmer months. Athens in general has a history for disorderly conduct by intoxication, Pyle said.
However, he said arrests are down for multiple reasons, such as a lack of jail space and an effort to divert citizens instead of arrest them. Residential areas also commonly see crimes like vandalism, in addition to theft in the form of items being stolen off porches or from cars.
The 2019 APD annual report showed incident reports being highest in August, September and March. The amount of service calls to APD were in the thousands during the warmer months, compared to the high hundreds in the colder months. For example, APD received 1,170 calls in April and just 823 calls in December.
“There’s no secret to it, people are out doing things,” Pyle said. “The nightlife picks up and it’s not as hard to walk home in 50 degree weather as 20 degree weather.”