It’s common for law enforcement agencies to experience an uptick in crime during the summer months.

Some city departments deploy extra officers when the weather warms up and crime rates rise. But in other, typically warmer areas, summer isn’t all that different than other seasons.

To gauge typical crime patterns, Governing reviewed monthly data that 384 larger law enforcement agencies reported to the FBI between 2010 and 2012. On average, monthly crime for seven major offense types increased nearly 10 percent between June and August from the rest of the year. The majority of agencies reviewed serve warmer jurisdictions that typically don’t experience large drop offs in crime during the winter months. For other cities, though, stemming violence in the summertime is a far more difficult task.

While it’s too early to say how most cities fared this year, many police agencies and local governments initiated efforts aimed at limiting summer crime. The New York City Police Department, for example, deployed additional cops and reassigned those at desks to troubled areas for its “Summer All Out” initiative. In Minneapolis, police similarly stepped up foot patrols following a sharp increase in shootings this summer.

Areas where crime surges the most in the summer tend to be northern cities in states like Minnesota and New York. In all, 42 police agencies reviewed recorded average increases of greater than 20 percent compared to times of the year.

“It’s almost a cliché in the northeast that things get busier in the summer for police,” said Michael Maxfield, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “They expect it.”

In Erie, Pa., totals for the seven major crime types rose by an average of 35 percent during the summer months -- one of the highest increases nationally. The city’s harsh winters likely help push down crime totals, and police there also see more activity from visitors during the summer months.

A few of the law enforcement agencies that registered the steepest fluctuations in crime serve summer tourist destinations. Take Virginia Beach, Va., for example, where crime increased an average of nearly 23 percent. A few million people visit the city’s oceanfront each year, and agency statistics indicate about 30 percent of those arrested annually are from outside the Hampton Roads metro area.

Some smaller resort towns hire seasonal police during the summer. Depending on their training, these uniformed officers may lack full police powers and could perform traffic enforcement and related duties.

The following table shows changes in average monthly offenses for law enforcement agencies with published monthly data serving at least 100,000 residents.

Summer Crime on Average

 

         
Agency Average % Increase/Decrease in Offenses During Summer Average Monthly Offenses: June-August Average % Increase/Decrease in Violent Crime During Summer Average Monthly Violent Offenses: June-August
Ada County (Idaho) 9% 143 67% 3
Aiken County (S.C.) 7% 478 24% 11
Alameda County (Calif.) 6% 355 -1% 20
Anderson County (S.C.) 10% 919 22% 15
Augusta-Richmond County (Ga.) 10% 1,759 0% 60
Beaufort County (S.C.) 15% 608 -5% 10
Berkeley County (S.C.) 10% 570 20% 12
Bernalillo County (N.M.) 16% 481 22% 13
Bexar County (Texas) 5% 974 -6% 14
Brazoria County (Texas) 9% 208 0% 4
Buncombe County (N.C.) 5% 209 15% 5
Cameron County (Texas) 7% 248 40% 4
Charles County (Md.) 11% 462 9% 17
Cherokee County (Ga.) 13% 268 26% 4
Clackamas County (Ore.) 7% 575 -13% 11
Clark County (Wash.) 5% 461 24% 11
Columbia County (Ga.) 8% 295 21% 3
Contra Costa County (Calif.) 10% 346 17% 15
Davidson County (N.C.) 13% 214 11% 3
Dutchess County (N.Y.) 20% 107 121% 2
East Baton Rouge Parish (La.) 6% 914 -4% 19
El Dorado County (Calif.) 12% 278 26% 4
El Paso County (Colo.) 4% 277 11% 9
Elkhart County (Ind.) 26% 210 20% 3
Erie County (N.Y.) 34% 167 54% 2
Forsyth County (Ga.) 14% 222 113% 4
Fort Bend County (Texas) 7% 660 -5% 14
Frederick County (Md.) 13% 243 -5% 3
Fresno County (Calif.) 13% 589 25% 16
Greenville County (S.C.) 9% 1,473 14% 42
Guilford County (N.C.) 6% 255 9% 3
Hall County (Ga.) 11% 296 36% 6
Hamilton County (Ohio) 18% 738 -2% 17
Hamilton County (Tenn.) 8% 262 -1% 3
Harford County (Md.) 12% 352 10% 13
Hidalgo County (Texas) 11% 1,022 5% 19
Iredell County (N.C.) 1% 277 -33% 2
Jefferson County (Ala.) 8% 623 -12% 18
Jefferson County (Colo.) 5% 300 -4% 3
Jefferson County (Mo.) 23% 397 8% 4
Jefferson Parish (La.) 4% 1,675 3% 47
Johnston County (N.C.) 5% 247 42% 4
Kent County (Mich.) 20% 622 -12% 9
Kern County (Calif.) 4% 1,343 11% 50
King County (Wash.) 9% 614 -9% 17
Kitsap County (Wash.) 14% 513 1% 11
Knox County (Tenn.) 5% 754 -19% 10
Lexington County (S.C.) 7% 660 16% 15
Livingston County (Mich.) 24% 106 -6% 2
Livingston Parish (La.) 18% 386 -20% 3
Los Angeles County (Calif.) 2% 2,470 7% 161
Loudoun County (Va.) 13% 441 28% 8
Macomb County (Mich.) 21% 419 51% 10
Maricopa County (Ariz.) 2% 552 -8% 11
Mobile County (Ala.) 6% 403 -13% 5
Monroe County (Mich.) 15% 337 -5% 7
Monroe County (N.Y.) 31% 557 35% 8
Monterey County (Calif.) -2% 197 10% 7
Montgomery Cnty Detective Div (Texas) 10% 886 -2% 14
Nassau County (N.Y.) 10% 1,687 -1% 65
Oakland County (Mich.) 24% 707 26% 19
Onondaga County (N.Y.) 24% 347 -1% 6
Onslow County (N.C.) 8% 529 6% 7
Orange County (Calif.) 18% 254 0% 4
Ottawa County (Mich.) 31% 567 -18% 9
Paulding County (Ga.) 17% 372 21% 3
Pierce County (Wash.) 9% 1,156 11% 31
Pima County (Ariz.) 8% 1,323 13% 23
Pinal County (Ariz.) 0% 363 3% 6
Placer County (Calif.) 17% 239 -11% 4
Richland County (S.C.) 6% 1,301 6% 42
Riverside County (Calif.) 3% 1,084 -21% 18
Sacramento County (Calif.) 6% 1,593 5% 106
Salt Lake County Unified Police Department (Utah) 10% 1,021 8% 20
San Bernardino County (Calif.) 6% 745 22% 23
San Diego County (Calif.) 4% 921 17% 32
San Joaquin County (Calif.) 6% 579 -2% 16
San Luis Obispo County (Calif.) 22% 181 21% 4
San Mateo County (Calif.) -2% 233 -24% 4
Santa Barbara County (Calif.) 4% 215 -5% 5
Santa Cruz County (Calif.) 1% 244 -5% 5
Saratoga County (N.Y.) 30% 179 50% 1
Shelby County (Tenn.) 6% 552 0% 9
Sonoma County (Calif.) 14% 227 56% 9
Spartanburg County (S.C.) 13% 769 16% 18
Spokane County (Wash.) 9% 424 28% 5
Spotsylvania County (Va.) 9% 355 32% 10
St. Charles County (Mo.) 22% 145 -9% 1
St. Joseph County (Ind.) 18% 209 92% 4
St. Mary's County (Md.) 13% 332 10% 6
St. Tammany Parish (La.) 15% 339 17% 4
Stafford County (Va.) 3% 279 22% 7
Stanislaus County (Calif.) 12% 345 29% 13
Stark County (Ohio) 28% 315 2% 5
Thurston County (Wash.) 14% 353 49% 6
Travis County (Texas) 2% 478 12% 5
Tulare County (Calif.) 11% 395 1% 11
Union County (N.C.) 3% 296 24% 5
Wake County (N.C.) 8% 296 53% 6
Warren County (Ohio) 36% 165 33% 3
Washington County (Md.) 4% 152 58% 3
Washington County (Ore.) 9% 357 -14% 9
Washoe County (Nev.) 21% 164 -27% 2
Washtenaw County (Mich.) 11% 336 11% 13
Waukesha County (Wis.) 35% 99 50% 1
Williamson County (Texas) 6% 178 -16% 2
Wright County (Minn.) 36% 209 -11% 1
York County (S.C.) 22% 516 -6% 6
Abilene Police Department (Texas) 17% 701 6% 15
Akron Police Department (Ohio) 15% 1,767 14% 76
Alaska State Troopers (Alaska) 30% 638 29% 13
Albemarle County Police Department (Va.) 0% 223 6% 4
Albuquerque Police Department (N.M.) 5% 3,587 -1% 112
Alexandria Police Department (Va.) 16% 428 -5% 12
Allentown Police Department (Pa.) 16% 686 -2% 38
Amarillo Police Department (Texas) 6% 1,295 2% 31
Amherst Town Police Department (N.Y.) 16% 264 -4% 3
Anaheim Police Department (Calif.) 3% 1,083 -14% 42
Anchorage Police Department (Alaska) 21% 1,609 26% 76
Ann Arbor Police Department (Mich.) 17% 345 7% 9
Anne Arundel County Police Department (Md.) 10% 1,764 22% 61
Antioch Police Department (Calif.) -12% 443 0% 30
Arlington County Police Department (Va.) 7% 453 11% 14
Arlington Police Department (Texas) 8% 2,146 -8% 53
Arvada Police Department (Colo.) 18% 302 -21% 4
Athens-Clarke County Police Department (Ga.) 8% 669 19% 17
Atlanta Police Department (Ga.) 11% 3,888 15% 227
Aurora Police Department (Colo.) 5% 1,267 2% 59
Austin Police Department (Texas) 4% 5,130 6% 119
Bakersfield Police Department (Calif.) 7% 1,759 2% 59
Baltimore City Police Department (Md.) 10% 4,276 5% 350
Baltimore County Police Department (Md.) 6% 3,487 3% 131
Baton Rouge Police Department (La.) 10% 1,828 3% 92
Beaumont Police Department (Texas) 4% 903 11% 40
Bellevue Police Department (Wash.) -1% 351 -16% 6
Berkeley Police Department (Calif.) 6% 555 14% 35
Billings Police Department (Mont.) 14% 565 2% 7
Boise Police Department (Idaho) 17% 736 13% 13
Boston Police Department (Mass.) 15% 2,972 9% 199
Bridgeport Police Department (Conn.) 6% 837 -9% 62
Brownsville Police Department (Texas) 1% 1,027 -6% 14
Buffalo Police Department (N.Y.) 21% 2,288 7% 142
Burbank Police Department (Calif.) 4% 274 -2% 9
Cambridge Police Department (Mass.) 23% 436 3% 15
Carlsbad Police Department (Calif.) 7% 229 -9% 5
Carroll County State Police (Md.) 20% 138 36% 2
Carrollton Police Department (Texas) 3% 355 -32% 5
Cary Police Department (N.C.) 10% 258 3% 4
Cedar Rapids Police Department (Iowa) 14% 597 7% 13
Centennial Police Department (Colo.) 18% 171 -22% 4
Chandler Police Department (Ariz.) 1% 772 -3% 19
Charleston Police Department (S.C.) 4% 483 10% 15
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (N.C.) 9% 4,604 6% 176
Chattanooga Police Department (Tenn.) 4% 1,306 -1% 45
Chesapeake Police Department (Va.) 14% 1,150 24% 28
Chester County State Police (Pa.) 0% 157 -15% 5
Chesterfield County Police Department (Va.) 3% 1,127 -3% 19
Chicago Police Department (Ill.) 18% 13,586 15% 1,327
Chula Vista Police Department (Calif.) 2% 580 0% 24
Cincinnati Police Department (Ohio) 15% 2,843 12% 194
Clarksville Police Department (Tenn.) 13% 679 -8% 14
Clayton County Police Department (Ga.) 13% 1,280 16% 53
Cleveland Police Department (Ohio) 19% 4,436 17% 341
Cobb County Police Department (Ga.) 8% 1,479 26% 49
Colorado Springs Police Department (Colo.) 6% 1,809 3% 73
Columbia Police Department (Mo.) 7% 511 -12% 15
Columbia Police Department (S.C.) 2% 911 16% 42
Columbus Police Department (Ga.) 18% 7,311 16% 362
Columbus Police Department (Ohio) 12% 1,559 9% 44
Concord Police Department (Calif.) 1% 460 -8% 15
Connecticut State Police (Conn.) 12% 777 4% 10
Corona Police Department (Calif.) 1% 366 -2% 9
Corpus Christi Police Department (Texas) 9% 2,054 2% 49
Costa Mesa Police Department (Calif.) 3% 381 15% 11
Dallas Police Department (Texas) 7% 7,716 8% 428
Daly City Police Department (Calif.) -6% 214 -20% 6
Davenport Police Department (Iowa) 11% 627 17% 17
Dayton Police Department (Ohio) 20% 1,330 18% 77
Dekalb County Police Department (Ga.) 9% 3,912 23% 197
Denton Police Department (Texas) 7% 404 -13% 10
Denver Police Department (Colo.) 11% 2,588 10% 135
Des Moines Police Department (Iowa) 15% 1,499 13% 32
Detroit Police Department (Mich.) 16% 7,228 26% 580
District Of Columbia Police Department (DC) 13% 4,277 8% 362
Downey Police Department (Calif.) -7% 377 -9% 17
Durham Police Department (N.C.) 10% 1,290 -3% 60
Edison Township Police Department (N.J.) 17% 193 -28% 5
El Cajon Police Department (Calif.) 1% 307 27% 19
El Monte Police Department (Calif.) -8% 260 6% 22
El Paso Police Department (Texas) 11% 2,553 28% 68
Elizabeth Police Department (N.J.) 5% 625 22% 70
Elk Grove Police Department (Calif.) 6% 360 -17% 9
Erie Police Department (Pa.) 35% 561 12% 22
Escondido Police Department (Calif.) 5% 452 -6% 19
Eugene Police Department (Ore.) -4% 738 -1% 21
Evansville Police Department (Ind.) 14% 811 13% 21
Everett Police Department (Wash.) 6% 775 -8% 18
Fairfax County Police Department (Va.) 11% 2,075 1% 43
Fairfield Police Department (Calif.) 7% 406 0% 16
Fargo Police Department (N.D.) 26% 441 8% 9
Fayetteville Police Department (N.C.) 10% 1,580 8% 52
Flint Police Department (Mich.) 18% 1,092 18% 76
Fontana Police Department (Calif.) 3% 546 -7% 23
Fort Collins Police Department (Colo.) 21% 564 -6% 8
Fort Wayne Police Department (Ind.) 21% 1,267 1% 40
Fort Worth Police Department (Texas) 7% 4,172 2% 144
Fremont Police Department (Calif.) 8% 502 4% 16
Fresno Police Department (Calif.) 5% 2,989 12% 102
Frisco Police Department (Texas) 10% 284 24% 3
Fullerton Police Department (Calif.) -2% 426 -10% 12
Garden Grove Police Department (Calif.) 0% 398 7% 16
Garland Police Department (Texas) 6% 1,024 2% 24
Gilbert Police Department (Ariz.) -2% 419 11% 8
Glendale Police Department (Ariz.) 1% 1,604 10% 42
Glendale Police Department (Calif.) -2% 347 9% 11
Grand Prairie Police Department (Texas) 5% 720 17% 23
Grand Rapids Police Department (Mich.) 28% 1,219 22% 55
Green Bay Police Department (Wis.) 19% 395 2% 11
Greensboro Police Department (N.C.) 12% 1,492 25% 66
Gresham Police Department (Ore.) 2% 486 -4% 18
Gwinnett County Police Department (Ga.) 11% 1,982 26% 86
Hampton Police Department (Va.) 6% 667 -6% 16
Harris County Sheriff's Department (Texas) 7% 6,724 10% 276
Hartford Police Department (Conn.) 16% 853 4% 58
Hawaii County Police Department (Hawaii) 3% 624 11% 12
Hayward Police Department (Calif.) 1% 451 -3% 34
Henderson Police Department (Nev.) 4% 695 6% 21
Henrico County Police Department (Va.) 13% 1,022 23% 27
Henry County Police Department (Ga.) 12% 550 23% 13
High Point Police Department (N.C.) 16% 571 1% 19
Honolulu Police Department (Hawaii) 2% 3,517 -9% 84
Horry County Police Department (S.C.) 19% 1,163 9% 24
Houston Police Department (Texas) 6% 14,665 5% 859
Howard County Police Department (Md.) 15% 921 9% 21
Huntington Beach Police Department (Calif.) 16% 634 17% 13
Huntsville Police Department (Ala.) 8% 1,451 4% 43
Independence Police Department (Mo.) 14% 851 -7% 13
Indianapolis Police Department (Ind.) 14% 6,608 14% 362
Inglewood Police Department (Calif.) 5% 356 4% 35
Irvine Police Department (Calif.) 8% 370 -3% 4
Irving Police Department (Texas) 3% 843 -10% 14
Jackson Police Department (Miss.) 15% 1,549 17% 100
Jersey City Police Department (N.J.) 13% 861 7% 87
Kansas City Police Department (Mo.) 14% 3,568 14% 186
Killeen Police Department (Texas) 7% 770 9% 28
Knoxville Police Department (Tenn.) 10% 1,536 -1% 59
Lafayette Police Department (La.) 5% 813 29% 25
Lakewood Police Department (Colo.) 10% 762 -7% 19
Lancaster Police Department (Calif.) 5% 489 4% 29
Lansing Police Department (Mich.) 21% 686 11% 32
Laredo Police Department (Texas) 3% 1,365 2% 25
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (Nev.) 7% 6,968 7% 395
Lexington Police Department (Ky.) 16% 1,506 -6% 54
Lincoln Police Department (Neb.) 15% 1,406 19% 33
Little Rock Police Department (Ark.) 6% 2,342 10% 92
Long Beach Police Department (Calif.) 6% 1,652 5% 121
Los Angeles Police Department (Calif.) 3% 11,919 5% 967
Louisville Metro Police Department (Ky.) 13% 3,787 9% 161
Lowell Police Department (Mass.) 21% 571 15% 21
Lubbock Police Department (Texas) 6% 1,604 -7% 33
Madison Police Department (Wis.) 15% 940 2% 32
Manchester Police Department (N.H.) 13% 629 -8% 20
Maui County Police Department (Hawaii) -4% 694 14% 13
Mcallen Police Department (Texas) 9% 701 35% 10
Mckinney Police Department (Texas) 5% 346 6% 8
Memphis Police Department (Tenn.) 12% 7,621 10% 337
Mesa Police Department (Ariz.) 2% 1,807 -1% 54
Mesquite Police Department (Texas) 4% 707 26% 19
Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (Tenn.) 10% 4,792 15% 203
Midland Police Department (Texas) 18% 493 -9% 7
Milwaukee Police Department (Wis.) 16% 4,238 18% 315
Modesto Police Department (Calif.) 2% 1,077 0% 43
Montgomery County Police Department (Md.) 17% 2,209 2% 84
Moreno Valley Police Department (Calif.) -2% 632 -4% 31
Murfreesboro Police Department (Tenn.) 7% 685 -5% 15
Murrieta Police Deparment (Calif.) -3% 150 -12% 3
New Castle County Police Department (Del.) 20% 1,131 0% 34
New Haven Police Department (Conn.) 10% 1,184 14% 82
New Orleans Police Department (La.) 8% 1,778 0% 114
Newark Police Department (N.J.) 14% 1,491 3% 171
Newport News Police Department (Va.) 10% 961 0% 36
Norfolk Police Department (Va.) 10% 1,643 -2% 57
Norman Police Department (Okla.) 11% 376 -15% 8
Norwalk Police Department (Calif.) 9% 274 4% 15
Oakland Police Department (Calif.) 4% 3,026 13% 357
Oceanside Police Department (Calif.) 10% 544 7% 21
Odessa Police Department (Texas) 8% 671 -28% 10
Oklahoma City Police Department (Okla.) 8% 3,893 8% 140
Omaha Police Department (Neb.) 14% 2,276 20% 94
Ontario Police Department (Calif.) 3% 551 2% 24
Orange Police Department (Calif.) -4% 269 -20% 5
Oxnard Police Department (Calif.) 0% 482 1% 28
Palmdale Police Department (Calif.) 10% 461 8% 26
Pasadena Police Department (Calif.) 8% 724 8% 19
Pasadena Police Department (Texas) -6% 366 20% 20
Paterson Police Department (N.J.) 13% 814 18% 80
Peoria Police Department (Ariz.) 3% 482 -5% 8
Philadelphia Police Department (Pa.) 10% 9,113 8% 829
Phoenix Police Department (Ariz.) 2% 7,060 2% 341
Pittsburgh Police Bureau (Pa.) 25% 1,867 17% 117
Plano Police Department (Texas) 4% 779 -10% 15
Pomona Police Department (Calif.) 1% 572 -8% 32
Portland Police Bureau (Ore.) 3% 3,138 1% 102
Prince George'S County Police Department (Md.) 10% 2,993 2% 203
Prince William County Police Department (Va.) 13% 1,043 -4% 21
Providence Police Department (R.I.) 12% 1,055 13% 45
Provo Police Department (Utah) 22% 349 12% 6
Pueblo Police Department (Colo.) 31% 774 15% 20
Raleigh Police Department (N.C.) 8% 1,686 13% 72
Rancho Cucamonga Police Department (Calif.) 0% 393 -2% 10
Reno Police Department (Nev.) 8% 977 24% 40
Rialto Police Department (Calif.) 1% 362 -21% 16
Richardson Police Department (Texas) -1% 298 -10% 8
Richmond Police Department (Calif.) 15% 1,354 7% 67
Richmond Police Department (Va.) 4% 542 21% 41
Riverside Police Department (Calif.) 1% 1,159 9% 51
Rochester Police Department (Minn.) 31% 339 34% 12
Rochester Police Department (N.Y.) 21% 1,798 16% 87
Rockford Police Department (Ill.) 20% 1,352 32% 67
Roseville Police Department (Calif.) 12% 394 35% 9
Round Rock Police Department (Texas) -4% 285 13% 7
Sacramento Police Department (Calif.) 8% 2,386 8% 129
Saint Louis Police Department (Mo.) 17% 3,339 17% 218
Salem Police Department (Ore.) -3% 640 -17% 12
Salinas Police Department (Calif.) -7% 541 -6% 37
Salt Lake City Police Department (Utah) 18% 1,841 25% 47
San Antonio Police Department (Texas) 9% 9,737 9% 230
San Bernardino Police Department (Calif.) 2% 1,149 7% 72
San Diego Police Department (Calif.) 4% 3,774 8% 166
San Francisco Police Department (Calif.) 1% 3,812 3% 292
San Jose Police Department (Calif.) -3% 2,638 -1% 114
Santa Ana Police Department (Calif.) -2% 792 11% 63
Santa Clara Police Department (Calif.) 2% 326 -25% 5
Santa Clarita Police Department (Calif.) 2% 303 2% 10
Santa Maria Police Department (Calif.) -1% 316 7% 15
Santa Rosa Police Department (Calif.) -1% 444 -6% 16
Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police (Ga.) 11% 1,150 16% 49
Scottsdale Police Department (Ariz.) -3% 677 -7% 12
Seattle Police Department (Wash.) 6% 3,643 5% 134
Shreveport Police Department (La.) 5% 1,241 9% 46
Simi Valley Police Department (Calif.) 7% 204 -14% 4
Sioux Falls Police Department (S.D.) 26% 706 50% 21
South Bend Police Department (Ind.) 22% 874 20% 40
Spokane Police Department (Wash.) 10% 1,932 12% 52
Springfield Police Department (Mass.) 15% 1,792 7% 39
Springfield Police Department (Mo.) 10% 1,287 10% 57
St. Louis County Police Department (Mo.) 12% 1,209 14% 32
Stamford Police Department (Conn.) 10% 300 -5% 15
Sterling Heights Police Department (Mich.) 15% 352 16% 5
Stockton Police Department (Calif.) 6% 1,969 20% 151
Suffolk County Police Department (N.Y.) 17% 3,575 7% 73
Sunnyvale Police Department (Calif.) 0% 234 -32% 5
Surprise Police Department (Ariz.) 2% 247 5% 5
Sussex County State Police (Del.) 20% 723 39% 16
Syracuse Police Department (N.Y.) 16% 1,004 24% 48
Tacoma Police Department (Wash.) 7% 1,529 8% 55
Temecula Police Department (Calif.) 3% 255 -8% 4
Tempe Police Department (Ariz.) -3% 984 4% 26
Thornton Police Department (Colo.) 5% 410 -6% 8
Thousand Oaks Police Department (Calif.) 3% 218 -4% 5
Toledo Police Department (Ohio) 12% 1,072 18% 123
Torrance Police Department (Calif.) -8% 259 5% 11
Tucson Police Department (Ariz.) 3% 1,788 4% 122
Tulsa Police Department (Okla.) 14% 2,812 18% 141
Vallejo Police Department (Calif.) 10% 652 3% 42
Vancouver Police Department (Wash.) 2% 752 0% 23
Ventura Police Department (Calif.) 10% 395 11% 13
Victorville Police Department (Calif.) 6% 488 2% 25
Virginia Beach Police Department (Va.) 23% 1,883 26% 46
Visalia Police Department (Calif.) 12% 655 22% 17
Waco Police Department (Texas) 13% 851 8% 24
Warren Police Department (Mich.) 13% 549 9% 21
Waterbury Police Department (Conn.) 11% 540 10% 17
West Covina Police Department (Calif.) 0% 322 2% 11
West Jordan Police Department (Utah) 8% 373 -19% 5
West Valley Police Department (Utah) 6% 711 5% 18
Westminster Police Department (Colo.) 6% 324 12% 8
Westmoreland County State Police (Pa.) 16% 226 3% 6
Wichita Falls Police Department (Texas) 11% 749 15% 17
Wichita Police Department (Kansas) 10% 3,069 12% 68
Wilmington Police Department (N.C.) 9% 673 4% 26
Winston-Salem Police Department (N.C.) 5% 2,030 14% 49
Worcester Police Department (Mass.) 11% 928 5% 38
Yonkers Police Department (N.Y.) 13% 451 14% 44

NOTE: Offense totals include murder/manslaughter, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft. Violent crime includes murder/manslaughter, rape and robbery.
SOURCE: Governing analysis of 2010-2012 FBI UCR Data. See "Notes on Data" below A number of theories offer varying explanations for higher levels of crime in the summertime. 

Jerome McKean, an associate professor at Ball State University, said it’s mostly that there are just more opportunities for crime to occur. “There’s a large pool of potential offenders and victims who are more vulnerable that time of year,” he said. 

Teenagers, in particular, lack activities to structure their time while out of school. It’s this group that’s been a particular focus for several cities. The city of Los Angeles partnered with a foundation for its “Summer Night Lights” program, offering evening activities at area rec centers and parks that target youths at risk for gang involvement and related violence.

Tourists run a greater risk of having bags or valuables stolen while they’re traveling, McKean said. And when they’re out of town on summer vacation, their houses are prone to break-ins.

Some have even blamed hotter temperatures for more crime, arguing such weather causes more aggressive behavior. Both Maxfield and McKean, though, expressed skepticism of that theory.

While warmer temperatures may not necessarily cause crime, multiple studies find it does correlate strongly with higher crime levels. A recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management takes it a step further, using a model to estimate additional crime caused by climate change. Evidence also suggests crime declines once temperatures reach a point where it’s too hot for people to want to be outside. Two Florida State University researchers found that assault rates began to drop once temperatures reached about 80 degrees Fahrenheit over a two-year period in Minneapolis.

Agencies serving jurisdictions with warmer temperatures outside the summer months were shown to have much smaller seasonal fluctuations in crime in the Governing analysis. Agencies in warmer climates experienced an average monthly increase of about 6 percent during the three summer months, while crime rose nearly 18 percent in colder climates.

SOURCE: Governing analysis of 2010-2012 FBI UCR Data  

Some police departments actually experience slightly less crime in the summer. The Scottsdale (Ariz.) Police Department reported total murders, rapes and robberies that were an average of 7 percent lower. That’s not surprising considering peak season for tourism there falls outside of summer, and daily highs regularly exceed 100 degrees from June through August. 

Many agencies reviewed not experiencing spikes in summer crime serve jurisdictions in Arizona and California.

Seasonal swings in crime occur also vary for different types of crimes. Cities often experience far more property crimes during the summer, likely attributable -- at least in part -- to the fact that the primary perpetrators aren’t in school. Pittsburgh police receive more reports of nuisance-type crimes, such as car break-ins and graffiti, during the summer months, according to Sonya Toler, a city police spokeswoman. 

Murder counts climb in the summer months as well. Police agencies reviewed saw monthly murders increase an average of 15 percent from June through August, with larger variations occurring in places like Cleveland and Rochester, N.Y.

To keep summer crime to a minimum, some agencies turn to increased staffing and extra patrols. The New York City Police Department reported a 25 percent drop in shootings in 10 targeted precincts following the implementation of its initiative in July.

Seattle launched a broader “Summer of Safety Initiative,” coordinating efforts across multiple departments. Part of the city’s efforts encouraged residents to report nuisance issues, such as abandoned vehicle and graffiti, along with public safety concerns. Hours at libraries and community centers were extended. Like other cities, Seattle also runs a summer jobs program providing opportunities for young adults to work for the city or participating local companies.

Learn About Tableau Notes on the Data Seven types of crime were reviewed for this analysis: murder/manslaughter, rape, robbery, assault (all types), burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft. Data was compiled from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program for 2010-2012. Law enforcement agencies that report monthly UCR data and serve at least 100,000 residents were included in the analysis. Agencies that either do not participate in the UCR program or do not report monthly offense data were not included. The New York City Police Department, for example, reports crime data on a quarterly basis. The 384 agencies reporting data are not necessarily representative of the nation as a whole. Most serve jurisdictions in warmer climates, so the 10 percent average difference in summer crime would be higher if additional larger jurisdictions elsewhere reported monthly data. Some smaller agencies reviewed reported relatively few crimes. Monthly figures were not adjusted to reflect the number of days in each month.  Agencies were categorized into cold, mild or warm climate groups based on their state’s average mean temperatures for non-summer months.